People living near Brooklyn, Michigan have long been accustomed to roaring sounds emanating from the Michigan International Speedway. After all, the Speedway regularly hosts NASCAR races, some of the best, most competitive stock-car races in the country. But on Saturday, September 17th some different kinds of roars will be radiating from the Speedway. That afternoon the first annual MI Fest (pronounced My Fest) will take over the 1400 acre grounds and the music, and the sounds generated by the more than 20,000 fans that are anticipated, will not let up till 11 that night.
George Gikas, president of the TGIF Entertainment Group, which is producing MI Fest, said that the idea behind the festival was to make this, “a sort of homecoming for many of the significant artists that have come from Michigan.” In line with that, all the musicians are Michigan based, or have current or past Michigan connections, including headliners, The Raconteurs, whose lead singers, ç and Brendan Benson, both have ties to the Motor City. The Raconteurs 2006 debut album, Broken Boy Soldiers, was named Mojo Magazine’s Album of The Year, and the band was voted Best New Artist in Rolling Stone’s annual Readers Poll.
Co-headlining Mi Fest will be Sheryl Crow. Crow whose Michigan creds include her collaborations with Detroit-area resident Kid Rock, is a storied performer with nine Grammys on her shelf, a number of multi-million selling albums to her name, and is also famed for her passionate support of many environmental and health-related charities.
The rest of the MI Fest performers are no slouches either. A partial list includes, saxophonist, Alto Reed of the legendary Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band, Mitch Ryder, a mainstay of the Detroit sound since the mid Sixties, the young sextet, Bear Lake, whose songs have been featured on a number of music-driven network shows such as One Tree Hill, Bones, and Melrose Place, the Hot Club of Detroit, with their Django Reinhardt inspired Gypsy jazz, and many, many others.
But MI Fest will be not only a music festival, but also a multi-sensory extravaganza, including the opportunity to camp on the grounds overnight. There will be great food provided by many Michigan restaurants, the Walker Tavern Farmers Market will be on-site, along with an outdoor marketplace featuring local artisans, and there will also be the MI Fest Art Gallery, with displays of the work of artists who have made significant contributions to the poster and photo art of Michigan’s music scene.
MIS, 12626 US Highway 12, Brooklyn. The one-day event on Saturday, September 17 runs all day with camping options. $79-$109. www.mi-fest.com