Mittenfest will be back for its fourteenth year, this time at the Riverside Arts Center in Ypsilanti. This three-day local music festival is a fundraiser for 826Michigan’s ongoing nonprofit education work in regional schools to bolster students’ expository and creative writing skills. Mittenfest is a grassroots philanthropic celebration started and sustained by local music fans and local musicians. The initial impetus, back in 2006, was to combine an opportunity to benefit 826 (which wasn’t even two years old back at that point) with super-sized music concert that could convene dozens of contemporary artists into a friendly, family-like, almost-living-room-like setting, in the Corner Brewery on Norris Street.
Over the years, Mittenfest has had several homes, including the bygone Elbow Room, the Blind Pig, the also-bygone Woodruffs, and, until recently, Bona Sera Underground. The spirit and the enthusiasm to continue hosting Mittenfests never dwindles in the face of unseen or unpredictable changes in venue, even if the circumstances are always different–Bona Sera’s owners were eager to transition out of the restaurant business. Mittenfest survives from the support and enthusiasm of the local music fans who regularly attend, along with the recurring and first-time appearing artists. But there is also a core group of volunteers who are the coordinators, not only in venue selection but in booking the lineup and spreading the word.
This will be my twelfth Mittenfest, and I think it might be the eleventh time I’ve been writing about it here on the pages of The Current. To put it simply, Mittenfest, the cause, and the overarching vibe you encounter when you attend either of the three evenings of live music encapsulate everything I appreciate about the Greater Michigan music scene–and, especially, the Ann Arbor & Ypsilanti music communities. You’ll have 20 bands performing across the weekend of December 27, 28, & 29, coming from the two hometowns, and then several coming from Detroit, as well as Lansing.
Streaming below, we have six songs to sample–each from artists who have recently released new music in the last year. The Riverside Arts Center is a nonprofit organization focused on supporting the arts and engaging the community by hosting programs–like Mittenfest.
More info at: https://www.riversidearts.org/
Ki5 // Blue Jeans // Scary Women // Little Traps // Slug Love // The Daynites // Frontier Ruckus
Joel Parkkila // Joanna & the Jaywalkers // Priest Potion // Fat Angry Hens // Matt Jones & the Reconstruction // Dani Darliing // Louis Picasso
Isaac + Dr. Ruby // Trey Priest // Dr. Peter Larson // Anne Erlewine // Approachable Minorities // don’t // minihorse