Hello friends. Can you BELIEVE it is almost time for Mittenfest V? I don’t mean to gush, but I’m pretty sure I’m going to. (I’m also pretty sure there will be much more gushing to come in the next week or two.) I’d like to start here: Mittenfest I, four long-and-event-filled years ago. The incomparable Brandon Zwagerman approached me. He of the Madison House fame. He of the camp of non-musicianites who do everything in their power to support musicianites. He of the local music lovers. He who left his beloved Michigan for NYC. He who wanted to see all his favorite bands when he came back for the holidays. He who wanted to give the proceeds of a small, one-day festival to us. He who could not possibly have known what this would grow into.
Cut to: Today. Two days before the fifth and biggest installment yet of Mittenfest. (Note: I am a little afraid of what next year will look like.) Four days. Sixty bands. A brand-new venue. Music we’ve loved for years. Music we’ll be hearing for the first time. Old friends. New friends. Mittenfest has grown into something quite unexpected. In size, to be sure. But in . . . feeling too. I think Brandon and I had some idea that first year that it would be a special time to hang out with our friends. I don’t think we realized how many people would feel the same way, how many people it would bring together for the holidays.
Okay. I think (most of) the gushing is done. How about details? Cold, hard facts? One of our most adored forms of information-dissemination on this website? That’s right, friends, a bullet-pointed list! Top Things Not to Miss at Mittenfest V (an incomplete list, completely biased to my own opinions):
- Matt Jones and the Reconstruction headlining Day One: Thursday, December 30. It’s rumored that they will be doing Springsteen’s Born to Run, the album, in its entirety.
- Chuck Sipperly’s late-night New Year’s Dance Party on Day Two: Friday, December 31, until 4am. I have been dancing to Chuck Sipperly’s amazing record collection and DJing skillZ (yeah, that’s right, I did that, I spelled it with a Z) for years now (including at my own wedding reception). He’s, in a word, the best. Think you don’t like to dance? I challenge you to say that as you’re leaving Woodruff’s at 4:05am on New Year’s Day.
Champions of Breakfast into Secret Twins on Day Three: Saturday, January 1. You might THINK you’ll be too tired to make it out for the first big show of 2011, but I urge you to rally. For starters, unless you’ve seen Champions, you’ve never seen anything like Champions. And who knows what they will come up with for this year. I saw Secret Twins for the first time last year, and they blew me away. A more ringing endorsement might be my husband’s, who, I think it is safe to say, is sort of “passed the age” where he gets INTO new music (there are a LOT of 90s jams in our apartment). I don’t think I have seen him as enthusiastic about a set of music since There’s Nothing Wrong with Love came out.
- Beezy’s Stupendous and Scrumptious Mittenfest Brunch (our title, not hers, but certain to be apt) on the afternoon of Day Four: January 2 from 10am to 4pm. If you haven’t been to Beezy’s, 1. Why haven’t you?? and 2. Go! To call her food “super good” would be vastly understating it. If you’ve been, you don’t need any convincing, and if you haven’t, let her Mittenfest Brunch be the thing that gets you there. Just like last year, 8.26 percent of sales go to 826! Find her and her delightful crew at 20 N. Washington in Ypsi.
- Lightning Love into Drunken Barn Dance closing out Day Four: Sunday, January 2. Two of my all-time favorite local bands. Nuff said.
Other bands I’m excited to see: Ghostlady, Lake Folk, Anna Ash, Black Jake & the Carnies, Frontier Ruckus, Chris Bathgate & the Young Bucks, and Misty Lyn & the Big Beautiful, pictured here at Mittenfest IV:
Mittenfest V starts Thursday and goes through Sunday at Woodruff’s, 36 E. Cross Street in the Depot Town district of Ypsilanti. You can find the full schedule on the Mittenfest website. Doors open at 3pm each day, with live music from 3:45pm to 2am each day. Tickets are $7/day, available at the door. You can get a four-day festival pass at the Liberty Street Robot Supply & Repair for $25. T-shirts, buttons, posters, and stickers will be available at the venue. All proceeds go to 826michigan!