. July 28, 2015.

Two festivals this weekend were born out of a love and appreciation of local music, and the events strive to grant exposure to the lesser known and under-appreciated talent that hides in the basements, garages, and attics around the state. Current spoke with a few local organizers who are trying their best to pry them out of anonymity, and to perform with one another. Whether it’s music, circus acts, poetry, or art — Ypsilanti organizers know how to do local shows right. 



Madhouse Sessions is a non-profit that was created five years ago, aimed at bring artists together in harmony. The two local organizers wanted to develop a haven where poets, musicians, comedians, dancers, and other such live artists could all exist together in the same space. The intention is to meld existing boundaries between creative pursuits in favor of what co-creator Barry Graham describes as “mayhem and magic.”

Madhouse is known around town for putting on poetry readings, throwing concerts, and orchestrating various events in the Ypsilanti area. This weekend, Madhouse Sessions presents an extravagant display in the Sand Creek Poetry and Music Festival. The fest will take place in an outdoor setting in Adrian, where Participants are invited to camp out and take part in the many acts that this weekend-long festival has to offer, which includes over 60 performers.

“We mix poetry, music, live art, dance, theater, circus acts, comedy and more for many reasons, and we are convinced that there is a profound continuity among the various art forms,” co-creator Leo Jarrett said. “Our goal has always been to present a singular performance comprised of many artists. ”

Pulling local acts from Adrian, Jackson, Monroe, Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, Ferndale, Downriver and Detroit– the fest combines communities under the celebration of artistic expression, and the more unusual the better.

Circus sideshow acts, face painters, jugglers, raconteurs, comedians, sculptors — the organizers behind Madhouse Sessions aren’t lacking any zeal in assembling an extraordinary community event.

Check out the extensive line-up online:


Ypsilanti grass-roots organizer Colin Moorhouse is directly tapped into the creative undercurrent of his surroundings, and does his best to create an outlet for its expression. Along with publishing an almost intelligible monthly zine entitled “Ypsi Underground Zine,” Moorhouse organizes shows, and breathes life into the lesser known creative community. Freek Fest is one of those endeavors, and the third of its kind. 

“The philosophy behind Freek Fest originally was to create a concert for local bands, musicians, and artists that normally didn't get a chance to play at the bigger shows or venues around town,” Moorhouse said. “I noticed a few years ago that there were so many hidden talented people in this town, and that they were either too shy to show what they had or that they were basically neglected by the so-called music scene in this town and Ann Arbor.”

Freek Fest will take place at various locations around Ypsilanti; like Smarty Catz, Good Vibes Glass, and Riverside Park. Live painting, vendors, glass blowers, tarot card readers and “the freekiest people you will find in this town” are among the many expected to attend.

Rumor has it, Ypsi’s own member of punk rock royalty will be a face among the crowd. 

Is Moorhouse simply creating hype, or will the illustrious Iggy Pop actually show up? He neither confirms nor denies the rocker’s presumed attendance.

“I don't know if Iggy will show up,” Moorhouse said. 

Moorhouse believes that Iggy’s influence still invigorates the small city’s creative community.

“I think the people in this town naturally exhibit the vibe and attitude that made the Stooges so cool,” Moorhouse said. “I know for sure we're keeping the legacy alive, and this event that appears to be just a groovy music/art scene is actually forming into something more important.”

Check out the lineup and times here


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