Dance the night away to electronica, learn modern folkways with acoustic jam sessions, or rock out to distortion guitars. Here are Michigan’s best summer musical events.
MICHIGAN—It’s been two years since the COVID-19 pandemic interrupted thousands of annual entertainment events. And Michiganders are eager to make up for lost time in 2022.
While some festivals were able to cautiously return in 2021, it’s 2022 that offers the most hopeful return. Some of Michigan’s most premier music events are making a comeback after taking an unexpected hiatus for two years, returning to planning in-person events after the entire industry backslid. While music events involve the support of sponsorships, donors, volunteers, and more, the most important components are the attendees.
Ready to support Michigan’s returning local events after a rough two years? Here are the most anticipated music events.
Local Spins Fest
Where: Studio Park, Grand Rapids, MI
When: May 21, 2022
Local Spins started as an online pet project documenting the Grand Rapids-area music scene. Ten years later, the quickly growing music website is hosting a one-day festival with a purely Michigan lineup. In the week leading up to the festival, Local Spins will also host smaller musical acts across Grand Rapids at venues such as the Listening Room and SpeakEZ Lounge.
Movement Electronic Music Festival
Where: Hart Plaza, Detroit, MI
When: May 28 – 30, 2022
One of downtown Detroit’s most beloved music festivals is Movement, a music festival that brings thousands of guests to the birthplace of techno music. It’s also one of the longest-running dance music events in the world.
With six stages and three days, Movement is able to bring over a hundred musical acts to Detroit. Some of the 2022 performers include Skrillex and 2 Chainz. However, the line-up also includes underground favorites and even first-time performers.
Camp Greensky Music Festival
Where: Shagbark Farm, Caledonia, MI
When: June 2-4, 2022
Kalamazoo-based Greensky Bluegrass put its summer camp-themed festival on in northern Michigan before COVID-19, but this year, they’re set for a site near Grand Rapids. Now, the three-day festival will take place on a 200-acre cattle farm. The music festival is set up to allow “sleeping under the stars” even in the new location, with both primitive campsites and RV camping allowed.
Where: Circle Pines Center, Delton, MI
When: June 17-19, 2022
The Buttermilk Jamboree is a family-friendly celebration of both music and art with activities for the whole family. The festival has a “cooperative spirit” with featured artists representing diverse genres and backgrounds. For guests, there’s both music and craft workshops, food and merchandise vendors, craft beer and wine, camping, and a kids’ area.
Where: Sherwood Forest, Rothbury, MI
When: June 23-26, 2022
Electric Forest is one of Michigan’s most coveted festivals. With international acclaim, Electric Forest is a feast for the senses as an art installation in the Sherwood Forest, combining both music and lights for a truly enchanted experience. The highly anticipated festival was cancelled in 2020 and 2021, meaning the 2022 celebration will be unlike any other. The headliners for 2022 include Porter Robinson, Louis the Child, Sylvan Esso, Griz, and more.
Where: Harbor Springs, MI
When: July 8-10, 2022
Blissfest is a festival near Petoskey that’s been entertaining families of all kinds since 1981. Although the pandemic cancelled the last two festivals, there’s new hope on the horizon for 2022’s anticipated return. Blissfest is scheduled to run with a brand-new campground, the “Front 40” featuring a quieter and more rustic experience. The headliners for 2022 are Shawn Colvin and Leftover Salmon.
Where: Belknap Park, Grand Rapids, MI
When: July 15-16, 2022
Upheaval is the largest rock festival in western Michigan, and it has some big names headlining. The Grand Rapids festival had its inaugural year in 2021 and featured Korn, Rob Zombie, Staind, and Skillet. It returns this year boasting Disturbed, Three Days Grace, Breaking Benjamin, Mudvayne, Theory, and Nothing More as its headliners, with several other nationally known smaller acts.
Beaver Island Music Fest
Where: Beaver Island, MI
When: July 14-16, 2022
The music venue of Beaver Island in Lake Michigan makes this a remote music festival, but also one of the most intimate ones. The Beaver Island festival returned in 2021 with Michigan-made acts, and this year’s featured acts include Grand Rapids-based country band The Bootstrap Boys and Traverse City-based eclectic band The Accidentals. Concert-goers must travel to the island by either ferry, boat, or plane. Camping facilities at Beaver Island Hideaway Campground are free for ticket-holders during the festival.
Where: International Speedway, Brooklyn, MI
When: July 22-24, 2022
Faster Horses is one of Michigan’s largest music celebrations, inviting over 40,000 festival-goers to the International Speedway near Jackson. This country music juggernaut is a three-day camping experience and was one of the first music festivals in the country to be rebooted in 2021. The headliners for 2022 include Eric Church, Tim McGraw, and Morgan Wallen.
Hiawatha Traditional Music Festival
Where: Tourist Park, Marquette, MI
When: July 22-24, 2022
This acoustic festival held in the Upper Peninsula’s largest town had its in-person events postponed in 2020 and 2021, but all systems are go for 2022. The stripped-back venue features a variety of acoustic offerings, including bluegrass, blues, folk singer-songwriters, country, Irish/Celtic, Appalachian, and even Cajun. Both local and national acts are invited. The festival also features an arts and craft show, kid-friendly activities, and outdoor recreation.
Mo Pop Festival
Where: Hart Plaza, Detroit, MI
When: July 30-31, 2022
Mo Pop is a niche music festival that’s accessible to everyone. Though it was formerly held at West Riverfront Park, the venue is being converted and can no longer accommodate an event as big as Mo Pop. For its revival in 2022, after two years of hiatus, Mo Pop will be held down the street at Hart Plaza. One of the 2022 headliners is Glass Animals, Mo Pop’s first ever repeat performer. The other headliner is Big Sean. The festival will feature unique offerings such as Mo Arcade, an air conditioned tent with classic arcade games, and Fleatroit Junk City, a pop-up flea market.
Hamtramck Music Fest
Where: Hamtramck, MI
When: Aug. 11-14, 2022
A music festival held across many different venues in Detroit’s Polish suburb, the Hamtramck Music Festival was originally hosted in the middle of March. However, COVID-19 pushed the festival to August, a time when outdoor performances are easier with the weather. And that change seems to have stuck.
The Hamtramck Music Fest brings performers and music enthusiasts together for a greater purpose—raising money for the music and arts programs at Hamtramck Public Schools. One wristband grants guests access to many different venues across Hamtramck, such as Small’s, Trixie’s, and the Polish Village Cafe.
Hoxeyville Music Festival
Where: Wellston, MI
When: Aug. 19-21, 2022
If you’re keen to the idea of traditional music in the Manistee National Forest, the Hoxeyville Music Festival presents the greatest opportunity. The Hoxeyville Music Festival celebrates “conscious community” and is currently in its twentieth year of operation. The headliners for 2022 include The Infamous Stringdusters, Yonder Mountain String Band, and Railroad Earth, with several other more local acts. Concert-goers may enjoy camping, hiking, mountain biking, and more in the Manistee National Forest trails.
Detroit Jazz Festival
Where: Hart Plaza, Detroit, MI
When: Sept. 2-5, 2022
The world’s largest free jazz festival is the Detroit Jazz Festival, held for over 40 years now during Labor Day Weekend. The festival was unfortunately virtual the past two years, but 2022 definitely seems more optimistic as construction finishes on the Hart Plaza venue space. The Detroit Jazz Festival features over 60 performing acts and ample late-night jam sessions. Thanks to sponsors and donors, the festival is kept financially accessible so anyone can partake in the rich jazz history of Detroit.
Wheatland Music Festival
Where: Remus, MI
When: Sept. 9-11, 2022
Wheatland originally started as a fundraising venture for the Mount Pleasant Food Co-Op in the 70s, but today, it’s one of Michigan’s most popular family-friendly music festivals with generations of annual concert-goers. Many families have yearly traditions, such as campsite decorating, which made the lack of an in-person festival the last two years particularly hard. But for 2022, Wheatland is scheduled to make a legendary comeback. Guests can participate in the traditional folkways of art and music.
Dally in the Alley
Where: Cass Corridor, Detroit, MI
When: Sept. 10, 2022
It’s hard to go wrong with a Motor City grassroots block party with over four decades of history. In fact, 2020 and 2021 were the first years Dally in the Alley had to cancel. The budget-friendly rave-like festival has no sponsors and is built entirely by Detroit-area talent. Run entirely by volunteers, the festival features local musical acts, food, vendors, and merchandise designed by local artists. The posters are collector’s items. Though the 2022 lineup has not been announced, Dally in the Alley usually has around 40 musical acts.
Earthwork Harvest Gathering
Where: Lake City, MI
When: TBA Sept. 2022
This northern Michigan event at a family farm is more than just a music festival. It’s an entire multifaceted cultural event focused on growth, complete with workshops and panels.
The Earthwork Harvest Gathering is an inclusive event with a “family gathering” feel, and all are welcome. Guests are invited to camp on the property for free, with campfires that last into the morning hours. The workshops and panels inspire civic engagement and ecosystem awareness, with important issues such as food justice and water equity. The festival features over 100 acts, but there’s also open mics and jam sessions, allowing music to bring everyone together. The festival was not held in person in 2020 and 2021, but festival organizers promise they will be “coming back strong” for 2022.
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