With interest in Michigan music festivals at an all-time high, the Local Spins 2019 Readers’ Poll put Blissfest at No. 1 and at the top of our list of most-read stories. Revisit the poll, with a link to our exclusive listing of 2020 Michigan festival dates. Then vote in the 2020 poll.
CHECK OUT OUR UPDATED ‘MICHIGAN MUSIC FESTIVALS 2020’ LIST AND SCROLL DOWN TO EMAIL US YOUR PICKS AS PART OF OUR 2020 READERS’ POLL OF FAVORITE FESTIVALS
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With Michigan’s music festival scene exploding over the past 10 years, the choices for music lovers seem endless and overwhelming.
The gatherings range from large to cozy, covering a dizzying array of genres appealing to a diverse audience of festival-goers.
So, Local Spins last spring asked readers on its website, via Facebook and email to submit picks for their favorite Michigan music festivals.
Amid the dozens of festivals cited by readers, 10 stood out – led by Blissfest and Earthwork Harvest Gathering – with several other events receiving multiple votes as “honorable mentions” on the list.
Please note that this was a purely subjective and completely unscientific survey, based completely on the enthusiasm of festivalgoers who chose to participate in the poll.
Got your own favorites? We’re kicking off the 2020 Readers’ Poll today and will post results from this year’s poll this spring before the festival season kicks off.
To participate, pick the Michigan festival that’s your absolute favorite, followed by No. 2 on your list. Write two sentences as to why each festival is so terrific.
Email your picks by Feb. 10 to firstname.lastname@example.org with “BEST FESTIVALS” in the message field and we’ll choose one lucky participant to win a fabulous Local Spins gift package that includes concert tickets, a stylish Local Spins beanie, a 2020 Local Spins Calendar and other swag. Remember, email us by Feb. 10.
We’ll compile the results and publish them in March before the festival season kicks into gear.
Need to refresh you festival memory? Check out Local Spins’ “Michigan Music Festivals 2020” list – the most comprehensive roster of festivals across the Great Lakes State with links to more information about each event.
THE TOP 10 MICHIGAN MUSIC FESTIVALS (FOR 2019)
1. BLISSFEST, Festival Farm, Harbor Springs/Cross VillageTHE 2019 LINEUP: Amy Helm, Canned Heat, Sam Bush, Steve Poltz, Martin Sexton and more
THE VIBE: It’s known as “Bliss” for good reason because devotees happily return year after year for this showcase of traditional and innovative American roots music, folk, world music and the arts. This is the 39th year of this beloved event held on the Festival Farm not far from Cross Village.
“Great mixture of local and national bands, family-friendly, great location, short drive to one of Michigan’s greatest beaches, well-organized.” – Brian Haik
“It has the most diverse musical roundup, including local Michigan bands, regional acts and international acts. Wide variety of stages spread throughout the area, great selection of healthy food vendors.” – Brent Godfrey
“With its premier location, relatively small size and laid-back vibe, Blissfest is by far our favorite festival.” – John Atanasoff
LOCAL SPINS STORY: https://localspins.com/blissfest-2018-revisited-in-words-and-photos-local-spins/
2. EARTHWORK HARVEST GATHERING, Earthwork Farm, Lake City THE 2019 LINEUP: Still TBA, but expect a robust roster of regional stars.
THE VIBE: As a season-ending festival, Harvest Gathering serves as an ultra-collaborative, feel-good affair with performances on several stages scattered across Bob Bernard’s farm that put an exclamation point on the year.
“I adore Earthworks because there is an acceptance of everyone, a days-gone-by sort of counter-culture vibe, and fabulous music. I like the workshops, dancing in the barn or hanging out at a fire. Nothing better.” – Annette Bowman
“It feels like family and all my favorite Michigan bands play.” – Tracie Simons
“It is a fine farewell and recap of summer, and offers enough positivity to tide me over winter until the next festival season.” – Greg S. Lewis
LOCAL SPINS STORY: https://localspins.com/earthwork-harvest-gathering-2018-revisited-in-highlights-photos-local-spins/
3. COWPIE MUSIC FESTIVAL, Shagbark Farm, Caledonia/Alaska THE 2019 LINEUP: Cracker, Joe Hertler & The Rainbow Seekers, Desmond Jones, Don Julin, Lady Ace Boogie, Hyryder, Mungion and more.
THE VIBE: It really does amount to three days of “peace, love and music” on a working cattle ranch that provides an unparalleled atmosphere for live music and camping. The festival has continued to expand and enhance its offerings in recent years, drawing a loyal, returning fan base.
“It’s always a great time no matter what the weather. Beautiful pastures, very well-organized, quaint, kid-friendly, camping is fabulous, lots of food vendors, local beers.” – Jamie Osmolinski
“My absolute favorite. It is family-friendly, supports local acts among some national acts and budding acts from other areas. All the while, it has a relaxed atmosphere where kids can run around and make friends. … (Owner) Farmer John (Crissman) has been running the festival for years and clearly it is a love affair between him and live music.” – Brent Boswell
LOCAL SPINS STORY: https://localspins.com/cracker-joe-hertler-to-headline-2019-cowpie-music-festival-local-spins/
4. CAMP GREENSKY, Hoxeyville Festival Grounds, Wellston THE 2019 LINEUP: Del & Dawg, Greensky Bluegrass, Stephen Marley, Billy Strings, Hiss Golden Messenger, Circles Around the Sun and more.
THE VIBE: In just one year, this festival hosted by Michigan’s own progressive bluegrass heroes Greensky Bluegrass has shot to top of the list for many festivalgoers. Held at the same location as Hoxeyville, the second-year festival boasts a mix of rootsy national and regional stars.
“It was fantastic. Good vibes, fantastic music.” – Randi Wilhelmsen
“Greensky for their inaugural year had the best damn lineup, weather and just overall energy of anything we could’ve been so fortunate to be part of. The artisans, the food truck lineup, the new stage carved into the woods, and the overall walkability of the fest grounds.” – Meagan Coburn
LOCAL SPINS STORY: https://localspins.com/camp-greensky-fires-up-year-2-with-del-dawg-stephen-marley-billy-strings-hiss-golden-messenger/
5. BUTTERMILK JAMBOREE, Circle Pines Center, DeltonTHE 2019 LINEUP: Nikki Hill, Beth Nielsen Chapman, Las Cafeteras, May Erlewine, Red Tail Ring, Billy Davis, The Appleseed Collective and more.
THE VIBE: For an early-season affair, Buttermilk Jamboree comes off as the perfect way to launch the summer in cozy, family-oriented fashion with a mix of national and local acts on several stages. And it’s set in the gorgeous woods and meadows of the progressively oriented Circle Pines Center.
“I like the old-time, hippie atmosphere. Circle Pines has a feel embedded that hearkens back to the old time Wobblies, Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger and the like.” – Annette Bowman
“The smaller ones (festivals like Buttermilk) have the community feeling that the larger ones are losing.” – John Harvey
LOCAL SPINS STORY: https://localspins.com/nikki-hill-beth-nielsen-chapman-las-cafeteras-set-to-pump-up-buttermilk-2019/
6. HOXEYVILLE, Hoxeyville Festival Grounds, Wellston THE 2019 LINEUP: Railroad Earth, Leftover Salmon, Billy Strings, Keller & The Keels, Lindsay Lou, The Crane Wives, May Erlewine, Chicago Farmer, Larry Keel Experience and more.
THE VIBE: Set for years on a picturesque site in the Manistee National Forest, Hoxeyville for a long time served as Greensky Bluegrass’ home festival until the band launched Camp Greensky (above). But Hoxeyville still resonates with its own rousing late summer flavor, mixing national and regional acts.
“The perfect way to end the summer with the whole family. Fabulous people which become your family and friends, tons of events for the kids, super stellar food trucks and vendors — and the music … Hoxey never disappoints. Hands down the best atmosphere for a variety of music and fun with your family and new friends.” – Lesli Wardell
“Hoxeyville is my favorite music festival. We already have our tickets (for 2019).” – Amy Lynch
LOCAL SPINS STORY: https://localspins.com/chris-robinson-brotherhood-keller-the-keels-railroad-earth-part-of-hoxeyville-2019/
7. WHEATLAND MUSIC FESTIVAL, Wheatland Festival Grounds, Remus THE 2019 LINEUP: The Special Consensus, Quebe Sisters, Alasdair Fraser’s New World Assembly, Lemon Bucket Orkestra, K. Jones & The Benzie Playboys, The Mammals, Jones Family Singers and more.
THE VIBE: This is the granddaddy of Michigan music festivals, unfolding for the 46th year outside Remus and celebrating in many ways the folks and roots music tradition in all its breadth and beauty, with performances on numerous stages, educational workshops, children’s activities and much more.
“The happiest festival on earth: three days of music everywhere, workshops to learn how to play music, drum circles, the best food, and lots of opportunities to create art to take home. Happy Wheatland!” – Angie Chase
“I get to spend the weekend with amazing people while listening to great music.” – William Oscar Blakemore IV
“There is no place like Wheatland. Upon driving through the gates you are instantly transported to a happier, more peaceful world—the kind of world I hope we will someday live in for the rest of the year. I frequently find myself brought to tears not only by the music but by the love and comradery felt by friends, families, and strangers alike.” – Staci Chase
LOCAL SPINS STORY: https://localspins.com/wheatland-music-festival-celebrates-45th-weekend-of-music-peace-and-love/
8. ELECTRIC FOREST, Double JJ Resort, Rothbury THE 2019 LINEUP: Odesza, Kygo, Bassnectar, Zeds Dead, String Cheese Incident, Joe Hertler & The Rainbow Seekers, 12th Planet, Big Tiger Sex Machine, Gramatik, Lettuce, STS9, Twiddle and more.
THE VIBE: By far, the biggest and most internationally acclaimed festival on this Top 10 list, Electric Forest draws 45,000 fans and hippies from across the globe for electronic music, jam bands, a mix of pop and soul artists, and an absolutely eye-popping art installation in the magical Sherwood Forest. (Note: The festival is back to a one-weekend affair for 2019, after being staged over two weekends in 2017 and 2018. The festival also sold out in record time in early December.)
“It’s a family unlike any other. I went alone this year and was taken in by a group. Made friends at every turn. People I never met before sat down beside me to enjoy the jam bands and EDM. The food was fantastic, several stages to enjoy, with fantastic art installations throughout the festival. My favorite festival so far.” – Lori Metzler
“Very unique and amazing experiences.” – Justin Wolbrink
LOCAL SPINS STORY: https://localspins.com/odesza-bassnectar-kygo-zeds-dead-to-headline-electric-forest-2019-string-cheese/
9. BEAVER ISLAND MUSIC FESTIVAL, Beaver Island in northern Lake Michigan THE 2019 LINEUP: Hymn for Her, ClusterPluck, Falling Through April, Jesse Ray & The Carolina Catfish, Moonbeau, Escaping Pavement, The Hacky Turtles, The Bootstrap Boys and more.
THE VIBE: It’s billed as one of Michigan’s most unique and charming music festivals, and its location 32 miles offshore from Charlevoix makes it a true musical oasis, with an impressive mix of Michigan-based and national acts.
“This festival has the unique opportunity to travel by boat to get to and is on the middle of the island. Beautiful festival in the woods.” – Cindy Caro
“What an amazing adventure. For those of you who have no experience with Beaver Island, it is a wonderful and magical place. … The massive weekend-long population spike was clearly influenced by the music festival’s Michigan-made lineup of immensely talented musicians. Each act helped bake a grandiose musical pie to be shared among the large crowds of eager dancers.” – Stefan Paul
LOCAL SPINS STORY: https://localspins.com/beaver-island-music-festival-2019-hymn-for-her-falling-through-april-clusterpluck/
10. BUS BENEFIT, Camp Blodgett, West Olive THE 2019 LINEUP: The Go Rounds, The Legal Immigrants, The Gasoline Gypsies, Roosevelt Diggs, Deerfield Run, Full Cord, Nicholas James & The Bandwagon and more.
THE VIBE: Hosted by Buses by the Beach, this summer-kickoff, Memorial Day weekend gathering along Lake Michigan is filled with VW bus lovers and serves as a true celebration of Michigan’s music scene. And for the 18th straight year, it also serves as fundraiser for the Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors.
“Great location (can walk across the street to Lake Michigan), VW owners talk about the history of their vehicles and how they were restored, festival is laid-back with time for biking, swimming and jamming … jam circle stage in the wood during the afternoon, good mix of Michigan and regional bands in the evenings.” – Brent Godfrey
LOCAL SPINS STORY: https://localspins.com/bus-benefit-2019-to-star-the-go-rounds-legal-immigrants-gasoline-gypsies-roosevelt-diggs/
Holler Fest, Jackson County – http://www.hollerfest.com/
Founders Fest, Grand Rapids – https://foundersbrewing.com/taproom-events/founders-fest-2019-a-celebration-of-beer-and-music/
Willowsong Music Festival, Sydney – https://www.willowsongmusicfest.com/
Also receiving votes: Battle Creek Caribbean Festival (Battle Creek), Big Ticket Festival (Gaylord), Dunesville (Lake Ann), Farm Block Fest (Keweenaw Peninsula), Farmfest (Joahnnesburg), Faster Horses Festival (Brooklyn), Feral Fest (Mancelona), Fuzz Fest (Ann Arbor), Grand Marais Music & Arts Festival (Grand Marais), Hiawatha Traditional Music Festival (Marquette), Lamp Light Music Festival (Grand Rapids), Michigan Irish Music Festival (Muskegon), Michigan Metal Fest (Battle Creek), Mighty Uke Day (Lansing), Porcupine Mountain Music Festival (Ontonagon), Rez Fest (Mancelona), Sacred Vibrations Music & Arts Festival (Shepherd), Spirit of the Woods Folk Festival (Brethren), White Birch Music Festival (Stanton).
Check out this year’s festival roster: Local Spins’ exclusive Michigan Music Festivals 2020 listing
Copyright 2020, Spins on Music LLC