Milan Music Fest shutting down

Sad news for bluegrass lovers in southern Michigan, as well as northern Ohio and Indiana. After a run of more than two decades the Milan Music Fest has announced that the 2022 festival will be their last.

Formerly known as the Milan Bluegrass Festival, the event has been held at the KC Campground in Milan, MI, under the supervision and management of campground owner Mark Gaynier since 1980. But Mark has now reached retirement age, and is starting to unwind his various business commitments to look towards a new chapter in his life.

In a statement announcing the festival’s end, he shared the reasons why now is the time.

“Hello friends! Thank you all so very much for the incredible 25th Anniversary of the Milan Music Fest! 5 days of music was quite the undertaking, and we enjoyed it so much! In some ways, the last 25 years have flown by and I’m grateful to everyone who has been with me along the way. I’ve made so many friends through bluegrass music, relationships that I know will last a lifetime, and I am so humbled by the support this community consistently gives me and each other.

With this personal milestone reached, I’ve given great thought to what’s next for me and the Milan Music Fest. I’m in a new season of life now, and after much deliberation, I have decided it is the right time for me to retire as festival producer. This decision has not come easily but I feel great peace about it.

I will certainly miss having the event here at KC Campground but I am hopeful that retirement will free me up to travel throughout the year and enjoy even more bluegrass music by attending festivals I’ve never had the opportunity to support. I will continue ownership of KC Campground and I want to invite everyone to stop by and hang out with us anytime you’re looking for a place to camp near Milan, Michigan.”

The 25th anniversary mark in only 22 years is as a result of Gaynier hosting two festivals in several of those years.

Let’s all hope someone will pick up the banner and launch a similar event in the region now that Milan is gone.

Hats off to Mark Gaynier, and his family and staff, for putting on such a beloved and well-attended bluegrass festival for so many years!

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.