. December 16, 2018.
photo by Doug Coombe


Here’s what Mittenfest means to me…

If I imagine a day when I’m no longer ‘on the scene…,’ when I’m no longer as ‘into’ live local music…, when I’m slowing down and not keeping up as much as I do…, then the fondest memories, the most vivid mental Polaraoids that will slide through my mind will be of Mittenfest. Equally, if there’s ever a time when I need to remind myself of why I do what I do, why cover music and why I love experiencing and following the sonic creations of the residents of Washtenaw County and all of Michigan, then I think about Mittenfest.

There aren’t pyrotechnics or a laser light show. It’s a modest affair, more or less. For its thirteenth year, it will be raising funds for 826Michigan’s nonprofit educational efforts in public schools, working to bolster expository and creative writing skills of students. It’ll be hosted at Bona Sera Underground (Dec 28th, 29th 30th), where descend into the low-lit ambiance to find a performance space charmingly decorated by local artists who have talents in the realms of painting, graphic design, lighting, and maybe some carpentry. The artists featured include Louis Picasso & the Gallery, Matt Jones & the Reconstruction, Approachable Minorities, Minihorse, Little Traps, Junglefowl, Zzvava and many more! (Scroll to the bottom to stream some songs).

The reason I love Mittenfest so much is that even though its been hosted in four different venues over its run, it continually feels like a family reunion. The makeshift “stage” feels like the fireplace we all gather around, unconventional kin coming together at the end of another year, another busy, weird, stressful, exciting, hectic, happy or even uncertain year, and remind each other, through the sharing of songs, why we do what we do. You can’t put it into words, and neither can I… But there’s always a subtle electricity in the air at Mittenfest, and I’ve failed to capture it 11-times in a row, since I first started attending. It’s like we each want to give each other a gift, and it could be the charm of a song, or a long overdue hug that’s been delayed by personal schedules. For three nights, we can get off of our devices and log off of social media, and experience each other’s company, experience each other’s songs, in person. I’ll try to capture it better next year…

…you’re attendance at Mittenfest supports 826Michigan. You can find more info at: and  

Line up

8:00pm – Nathanael Paul Romero (Ypsi)
8:45pm – Pancho Villa’s Skull (Pontiac)
9:30pm- Matt Jones and The Reconstruction (Ypsi)
10:15pm – Dani Darling (Ann Arbor)
11:00pm – River Spirit (Detroit)
11:45pm – Jaye Prime (Detroit)
12:30am – Approachable Minorities (Ypsi)

8:00pm – Lonely Hearts Convention (Ypsi/Arbor)
8:45pm – Drinkard Sisters (Hamtramck)
9:30pm- Jim Cherewick (Ypsi)
10:15pm – Impulse (Ypsi)
11:00pm – Louis Picasso and the Gallery (Ypsi)
11:45pm – Minihorse (Ypsi/Arbor)
12:30am – Jamie Register and the Cash Machine (Ann Arbor)

8:00pm – Towner (Ann Arbor)
8:45pm – Virga (Ypsi)
9:30pm- The Ryne Experience (Lowell)
10:15pm – Mother Night (Ypsi)
11:00pm – Little Traps (Ypsi/Arbor)
11:45pm -Junglefowl (Ypsi)
12:30am – Zzvava (Ann Arbor)

Doors at 7:30. Music starts at 8 sharp.
$10, ages 21 and up


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