Music on the Muskegon 2016 Recap
Saturday Oct. 1 2016, the Music Industry Management Association presented Music On The Muskegon on the banks of the Muskegon River in Hemlock Park, located in downtown Big Rapids. The cultural music festival turned out to be a great success, with only a slight drizzle of rain on the cloudy afternoon.
The festival kicked off at noon with Grand Rapids Celtic Folk-Rock band, An Dro taking the stage. An Dro returned for their second consecutive year at Music On The Muskegon. An Dro was a great opening act for the festival. The melodic folk-rock jam sessions placed in the middle of their songs were entertaining and uplifting. Jim Spalink-Bouzouki and Carolyn Koebel- all things percussion, visually found their groove during these sessions.
During the set, young girls in attendance hopped in front of the crowd and began to Irish folk dance, much to the pleasure of the crowd.
Next up on the stage were Pan Franek Zosia & the Polka Towners. This was Pan Franek and company’s first Ferris State University performance and their set was by far the most interactive with the crowd on the day.
The group performed as a six-piece, led by energetic and welcoming Pan Franek, who played the accordion, sang and spoke to the crowd. Joining him on stage was his two daughters who played violin, sang and danced. Good friend of Franek, Larry Olsen, played trumpet and guitar. Olsen has been playing music with Franek for over 30 years, since the two were in high school.
Olsen and the rest of band played one of Olsen’s originals, “Symphony in D-Minor,” to which Olsen played trumpet.
Franek played a number of new and old tunes. He was especially excited to perform an old song entitled, “My Shoes Keep Walking Back To You,” and encouraged the crowd to sing along and dance.
Later on in the set, the “Polish Dixie Chicks,” as Franek called his daughters, led an interactive Polka dance with the crowd. Volunteers held hands and danced in a circle while one person stood in the middle holding a cloth. When the person holding the cloth chose a new person for the middle, they would hug, trade the cloth and switch places in the circle. It was fun and humorous.
Midway through the festival, Carolyn from An Dro led an interactive drum circle. The group was massive, at one point included almost 30 participants. Volunteers were playing drumheads, bongos, paint buckets and just about anything that could make the sounds of percussion instruments. It was very entertaining to watch the volunteers try to keep beat with Carolyn, who played effortlessly with no breaks until the circle was completed.
Progressive string swing quartet- The Appleseed Collective from Ann Arbor, Michigan, returned for their second Music On The Muskegon and played third.
The group is fresh off of their June release, Tour Tapes, and played a number of tracks off of that release. Tour Tapes consists of highly emotive and honest lyrics from lead singer Andrew William Langdon Brown.
The Appleseed Collective definitely has evolved their sound since last year’s performance at Music On The Muskegon. A lot of that has to do with the release of Tour Tapes, which is a darker sound than previous work by the group.
One of the more fun songs played by the group on the day was New Orleans swing tune, “I ain’t gonna give nobody none of my jelly roll.” Upright bass player Eric O’Daly sang the lyrics to this song.
Before The Appleseed Collective completed their set, they gave a shout out to their good friends, The Accidentals, headliners of the festival.
And finally the festival headliner, The Accidentals, made one last stop on their tour before returning home to Traverse City, Michigan. Although beat from tour, the group could not have been more excited to headline Music On The Muskegon, after making their Ferris State University debut at Independent Showcase this past February.
“We are super excited to be back,” said lead singer/guitarist Savannah Buist. “We have been touring all over the place so it feels really good to be back in Michigan.”
“Yeah we’re pumped, we’ve been on the road for awhile now, added singer/guitarist/cellist player Katie Larson. “We just got back from Nashville and it’s good to be able to go home in a little bit.”
When The Accidentals took to the stage at 4:30 p.m., the tent was packed with the crowd extending from the front of the stage to the back of the beer tasting section hosted by the Jaycce’s.
The group opened with track “KW” and the crowd was immediately into it. The Accidentals had an hour and a half to perform so they had plenty of time to play tracks off of their most recent full-length album, Bittersweet. The group also performed songs from their June EP, Parking Lot.
The Accidentals threw in a cover of “Tom Sawyer,” by mega-rock band Rush, and drummer Michael Dause sang the popular hit. Music Industry Management student Peyton Zimmerman stated, “Michael’s vocals on Tom Sawyer were sensational. His pitch was on point!”
The Accidentals are working on material for a new full-length album and played a couple tracks from it. Savannah stated that the new release is scheduled to come out some time in the first quarter of 2017. This will be the their first full-length album since Bittersweet, which was released in 2013, when the group was still teenagers.
The Accidentals closed out their set and Music On The Muskegon with “Half Mash,” while members of The Appleseed Collective joined them on stage.
We hope everyone had a blast at Music on the Muskegon, and we look forward to seeing everyone next year for more music and family fun. A special thank you to all that showed up and our sponsors for making the show possible.
For more information about all the events that the Music Industry Management Association puts on through out the year “Like” us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/musicindustrymanagement/.
Travis Sacher Nov. 2016