Thursday at the 2022 Milan Music Fest

Joe Mullins & The Radio Ramblers at the 2022 Milan Music Fest – photo © Bill Warren

Day 3 of “5 for 25” kept the audience well entertained at the 25th anniversary edition of the Milan Music Fest in Michigan. The weather cooperated and provided a bright sunny day.

The Carley Arrowood Band did their postponed second set to open the show. Blake Williams, festival MC, had high praise for both their musicianship and professionalism on stage.

Larry Efaw and the Bluegrass Mountaineers followed. Larry has assembled a group of young musicians that share his passion for the Ralph Stanley style of bluegrass music. He has led the band for many years and has a large catalog of hard driving music. They are a favorite wherever they perform.

The Little Roy & Lizzy Showed turned the energy button to wide open. Roy has more energy at 80 years young than most people half his age, and still drives the bus! Lizzy has developed her own style, but can take the audience back to Lewis Family days with some of their best loved songs.

Alan Bibey and Grasstowne has become a favorite on the bluegrass circuit as they give an audience a healthy dose of original music with the odd evergreen sprinkled in. Alan shows why he has been awarded IBMA’s Mandolin Player of the Year. This is a band to see.

There is not much that has not been said about the final two bands of the day. Joe Mullins and Sammy Shelor have put together two of the very best bands in the business. The Radio Ramblers are well awarded in the relatively short span of the band’s life. The Lonesome River Band has been appearing for 40 years and always provides great shows. One of the highlights of the LRB show was seeing them singing their rendition of Caroline the Teenage Queen to the song’s creator, Wendy Smith. Wendy was a long-time bluegrass promoter in Michigan as well as the front man for his own band, Blue Velvet. Wendy is 89 years young and still performing occasionally.

An honored guest Thursday was Jerry Yates. Jerry and his partner, the late Jim Wilder, were the first promoters of the festival under Mark Gaynier’s tenure as owner of the KC Campground.

Friday and Saturday will be big days of music with Friday featuring Russell Moore and IIIrd Tyme Out and Saturday featuring Rhonda Vincent and the Rage.

Support your local music venues.