Third Place (MusicFest): Small Roaming Concert Series in Ann Arbor this May

“Our mission is to bring together artists, community members, and businesses from the SE Michigan region to celebrate the power of the third place,” said co-director, Wesley Hornpetrie.

If you live in Ann Arbor, you are probably aware of annual music festivals like the Waterhill Music Festival or concerts at Top of the Park during the Ann Arbor Summer Festival. You might have been to see artists at The Ark, The Blind Pig, Michigan Theater, or the Power Center

But recently, a new music festival has taken hold of the city. Third Place music fest, May 25-28th, is a four day celebration of local music and places in and around Ann Arbor. 

Third Place was established in 2017 as a monthly concert series. It has grown into a yearly festival with occasional pop up concerts in-between. In an interview with WEMU’s Lisa Barry, Wesley Hornpetrie, who is one of the co-directors of the new festival, explained that the name of the festival is based on a sociology term “the third place.” 

The Meaning of “Third Place”

The term “first place” is applied to people’s homes, “second place” to their work, and this “third place” represents the in-between, the places we go to socialize, build relationships, and to have a good time. 

Third Place music festival aims to open up and grow these social spaces and relationships through concerts. Co-director Hornpetrie says that the festival is, “founded on principles both simple and often overlooked: that concerts should be radically welcoming, accessible, and inclusive.” 

Instead of having one venue for all four days of the festival, Third Place moves to different venues, highlighting different cultural hubs in Ann Arbor. In the past, the festival has been held at 327 Braun Court and Ann Arbor Distilling Company. 

Where Does it Happen?

This year you can expect concerts at the Kerrytown Concert House, Teahaus, Blom Meadworks, Argus Farm Stop, Vertex Coffee Roasters, and Cahoots Cafe

Hornpetrie says that “You can think of it [Third Place] as a cute traveling festival. We have nine different local third places–nine different venues and nine concerts across a four-day period.” 

What Genres are Included?  

Third Place is not limited to just one genre of music. This year we will hear folk, experimental, jazz, classical, performance art, and indie music. Performers are all local. Musicians from Ann Arbor, Detroit, Ypsilanti, and other surrounding areas will come together to perform. 

In past years artists like Lily Talmers and the Ypsilanti Goddam, a 60’s folk revival band, have taken the stage. But others, like the group Gnostikos, a band that explores improvisation and experimental forms of music, have blown listeners away. Classical-style artists like the Cleveland Wind Trio have also performed. Keep your eye out for this year’s line up! It should be posted on Third Place’s website, thirdplacemusic.org, in the coming days. 

Pricing and Information

Tickets for the festival are available on a sliding scale, from three dollars, to five, to ten dollars for each concert. If you are interested in performing in or hosting the Third Place festival you can email thirdplaceconcertseries@gmail.com to inquire about next year, since the call for artists is closed for this year. You can follow the festival on their website, instagram, or facebook pages.