2017 Milan Bluegrass Festival kicks off in style

Summer Brooke & The Mountain Faith Band at the 2017 Milan Bluegrass Festival – photo © Bill Warren

Wednesday saw preliminary festivities at the 20th annual Milan Bluegrass Festival at the KC Campground in Milan, Michigan. The Southeast Michigan Bluegrass Music Association hosted a jam and a potluck. All agreed that bluegrassers know how to cook and how to eat! Mark Gaynier, campground owner and festival promoter, hosted an open stage session in the evening.

The stage show kicked off Thursday afternoon with Michael Cleveland and Flamekeeper. Michael is a multi-time winner of IBMA’s Fiddle Player of the Year. Summer Brooke and the Mountain Faith Band followed. They are one of the top-flight young bands in bluegrass music. Festival standby Nothin’ Fancy then returned to the Milan stage. Their solid music and antics always keep the audience on the edge of its seats. The Becky Buller Band brought the great harmonies of the band to the KC stage for the second year.

The Southeast Michigan Bluegrass Music Association added two more members to the 2017 Hall of Honor. Brian Paige accepted induction on his father’s behalf. Ralph Paige was unable to attend the induction. Also Bill and Pam Warren were inducted by association vice president John Bayerl.

The Lonesome River Band closed out the days entertainment. Sammy Shelor always presents a great show with his great band.

Friday and Saturday bring more great bands to the festival stage. They include the likes of Breaking Grass, Joe Mullins and the Radio Ramblers, Flatt Lonesome, Russell Moore an IIIrd Tyme Out, Volume Five, The Grascals, Rhonda Vincent and the Rage, and a special appearance by the legendary Gene Watson.