Summer Music Festivals in Michigan

Summer Music Festivals and More

Ann Arbor Folk Festival, 2007
Photo © Erich Zechar

Michigan Music Festivals are often scheduled in the summer, but there are a few here and there that take place in other seasons. While the summer music festivals vary by size, length, and music genre, they all provide a venue for local talent and most attract national acts. Among the Michigan Music Festivals scheduled annually are the Ann Arbor Folk Festival, Faster Horses in Brooklyn, FreeMusic Fest in Freeland, Founders Fest in Grand Rapids, Rockapalooza in Jackson, Island Fest in Kalamazoo, Hoodilidoo in Lacota, Common Ground Music Fest in Lansing, Coast West Music Fest in Muskegon, and Electric Forest in Rothbury, as well as several summer music festivals in Detroit.

Ann Arbor: Ann Arbor Folk Festival

The Ann Arbor Folk Festival has provided a venue for folk and roots music for over 35 years. It is a fundraiser for The Ark and traditionally takes place over two days in January. Like many Michigan music festivals, the Ann Arbor Folk Festival includes both national acts and up-and-coming performers.

Brooklyn: Faster Horses

Faster Horses combines country music with camping during a three-day-long music festival on the grounds of the Michigan International Speedway. It usually takes place in July. Past performers include Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan, Dierks Bentley, and Jon Pardi. A three-day passes are available costs $170. 

Detroit: List of Detroit Movie Festivals

The Detroit area plays host to several nationally renowned summer music festivals. The really big summer music festivals include Movement: Detroit Electronic Music Festival, The Downtown Hoedown, Orion Music + More Festival, and The Detroit Jazz Festival.

As you head out to the suburbs, there are even more music festivals, including Jazzin' on Jefferson; River Days; Ann Arbor Summer Festival; Michigan Elvisfest; Michigan Jazz Festival; Arts, Beats and Eats; and Dally in the Alley.

Freeland: FreeMusic Fest

FreeMusic Fest was first organized in 2008. The now annual summer music festival is usually scheduled in early June and takes place in Tittabawassee Township Park.

It features several bands and songwriters, as well as beer tasting, a kids korner, disc golf tournament and interactive art experiences.

Grand Rapids: Founders Fest

Founders Fest is a street-side celebration/festival hosted by Founders Brewing and located on the streets surrounding the brewery. In addition to several musical acts on two stages, Founders Fest has two beer tents. The festival is usually scheduled in late June.

Jackson: Rockapalooza

Over one day in June, Rockapalooza hosts 100 bands on eight stages. The music festival is held at the Jackson County Fairgrounds.

Kalamazoo: Island Fest

The Island Fest has been around since 1996 and is now billed as Michigan's largest Reggae festival. It hosts 15 local and national Reggae bands over three days in downtown Kalamazoo. The event usually takes place in late June.

Lacota: Hoodilidoo

Lacota: Hoodilidoo is a festival about music, peace and love. It hosts 25 bands over three days in June at Willow Ranch. The first festival took place in 2009.

Lansing: Common Ground Music Festival

At seven days, the Common Ground Music Festival is one of the longest of the Michigan music festivals. It usually takes place in July and plays host to several bands on multiple stages at Adado Riverfront Park, which is located along the banks of Grand River.

Most genres are represented at the Common Ground Music Festival, from rap to pop rock; and the bands include nationally renowned entertainers, as well as local acts. Past performers have included Barenaked Ladies, Ben Folds Five, and Ludacris.

Muskegon: Coast West Music Fest

The Coast West Music Fest lasts six days and has three stages scattered within Heritage Landing County Park. The festival consistently attracts top national talent. The festival usually takes place in early July and hosts fireworks. Past performers have included Leann Rimes, Cheap Trick, and Blue Oyster Cult. The Lakeshore Art Festival often accompanies the music festival.

Rothbury: Electric Forest

The Electric Forest is the successor to the Rothbury Festival held on the grounds of Double JJ Ranch in 2008 and 2009. Since 2011 the Electric Forest Festival has provided several days of electronic music and jam bands in a unique, wooded setting.

The sprawling grounds of the resort contain five stages, three small and two large, that are connected by trails. One of the stages is located within Sherwood Forest, a festival highlight. The forest contains a small stage surrounded by pine trees that are strung with hammocks and lights. The music festival usually takes place in late June and often has a big party atmosphere at night.

In addition to the music, Electric Forest has other activities and entertainment including art exhibits, yoga classes, and story telling. The Double JJ Resort's water park is also nearby.