City dwelling can get the best of you, but thanks to the beautiful people at Hoxeyville I was able to back get to my Northern Michigan roots once again. After a year-long hiatus, Hoxeyville, located gorgeously deep in the Manistee National Forest, celebrated it’s 11th year with a triumphant comeback, drenched thoroughly with Michigan folk and bluegrass music.
After massive events like ElectricForest and Movement it was a sight for sore eye pulling into the woods, with a small wait to get in and a very lax entry. Soon after setting up camp with some close friends from my days at NMU, we embarked on a journey around the festival grounds. The Main Stage sits as the heart of the festival, surrounded by local vendors with some of the best goods and beer from around the state! As you made your way to the back of the grounds, there was a second stage (named the Mitten) where acts played under an old school circus tent. It was a bluegrass carnival all weekend!
While residing in the U.P. for several years, a slew of these bands would pass through, so I was fortunate enough to re-visit some of these bands again. The Ragbirds would make frequent trips up north-seeing Erin Zindle and her gypsy crew again was a blessing in disguise-and it’s always a treat to get your boogie on to the boys in Steppin’InIt!
Greensky Bluegrass has taken off these past couple of years, playing shows all across the country and even opening for bluegrass superstars, Railroad Earth at the infamous Red Rocks Amphitheater in Colorado. Known as Hoxeyville’s house bands, we were treated to two glorious nights of this lovely bunch, as they took everyone on a Michigan bluegrass adventure. Both nights were mind-blowing, from the lighting to the sound, both levels of productions were phenomenal. Cheers to you Hoxeyville crew!
It was also a pleasure to stumble across bands that I have not seen before, especially at the Mitten Stage. There were two stellar groups that caught my eye this past weekend, Billy Strings & Don Julin and The Accidentals. Both hailing from Traverse City, Billy Strings and Don Julin put on quite the show, high energy the whole way through, so much that Billy broke three stings throughout one of his sets! The Accidentals which is comprised of two girls, ages 15 and 16, tore the Mitten Stage a new one on Sunday! Katie Larson rocks an electric cello while Savannah Buist goes back and forth between a guitar and an electric Violin with fingers full of energy. If you ever come across either these bands while you’re visiting Traverse City, please make every effort to see them.
Mark you calendar for next year! Hoxeyville is that home away from home for all us bluegrass loving Michiganders. This family owned farm is full of beautiful faces to the outstanding music, Hoxeyville has everything you need to get back to your Michigan roots.
Do you have a favorite bluegrass band?