Totally Awesome Fest 7

40-some bands played over the course of last weekend’s Totally Awesome Fest in Ypsilanti. I believe something like half a dozen venues were involved, but, sadly, I only made it to one. I was able to shoot a little video, though, which you’ll see below. The quality isn’t great, but hopefully it gives you a sense as to what it was like. What I witnessed was incredible, and, on behalf of the community, I’d like to thank Patrick Elkins and everyone else who had a hand in making it happen… In spite of all the weird, bad stuff going on in Michigan right now, there’s no place that I’d rather be than in Ypsilanti. It’s a magical little town.

And I don’t mention this because I want my readers to heap scorn upon the good people of Ann Arbor, but I think it’s interesting to consider Totally Awesome Fest in relation to Ann Arbor’s Water Hill Music Festival, which also took place this past weekend. (You can find audio and video here.) Both are community-based music events, but I think you’ll agree that there’s a world of difference. I’m not saying that one is necessarily better than the other. I just think that they both reflect the spirits of the communities in which they take place.

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  1. Boy O Boy
    Posted May 2, 2011 at 10:16 pm | Permalink

    This is not my “cup of tea” but aren’t you glad to live in a country where you can go “nutters” expressing “yourself” without fear of nanny state censorship? Is it so hard to understand that for others freedom looks different but is of equal value?

  2. Caring Parent
    Posted May 2, 2011 at 10:29 pm | Permalink

    Boy O Boy,

    As far as I know, these concerts did not harm anyone (at least anyone who didn’t freely attend). They did not reduce funding for school children, benefits for retirees, environmental protections, access to health care, public infrastructure, should I go on?

    Please do not insult us by trying to equate the freedom to have a concert on private property with the “freedom” to break unions. Here’s your “logic”: If you’re free to brush you teeth shouldn’t others be free to punch out your teeth? That’s what you’re saying, isn’t it?

    Is THAT too clear and simple to understand?

  3. Boy O Boy
    Posted May 2, 2011 at 10:43 pm | Permalink

    NO Caring Parent my logic is far more lucid. I have the right to brush my teeth. NO ONE has the right to have me pay for their tootpaste. The organizers of this “event” did not force me to fund it even though I did not attend. If they did it would be theft. Plain and simple. Do you consider theft to be harmless? Is THAT what you’re “teaching” your kids?

  4. Andrew Jason Clock
    Posted May 2, 2011 at 11:37 pm | Permalink

    Really? Shut the fuck up. We’re talking about a fucking festival. We get it. You are the most conservative commenter on the blog, Boy-O. We fucking get it. Please tell us next how thankful we should be we don’t live under sharia law like they do in Dearborn. God fucking bless America.

    I only made it to Dreamland on Saturday for Secret Twins and Lightning Love, and someone I never learned the name of. It was stuffy and crowded and the pa didn’t work very well, but nobody seemed to care. They also offered the lowest beer price of any charity party and/or beer tent in Ypsilanti, which counts for a lot in this city, from what I’ve observed. I drove by Friday and it looked like there were twice as many people there, which would be a whole lot because it was pretty packed when I was there.

  5. Posted May 3, 2011 at 12:37 am | Permalink

    BOB, this is a music festival. It was like any number of other musical festivals that occur in any number of other countries around the globe.

    Seriously, man, you are way over the deep edge here. Are you ok?

    I don’t think anyone on this blog sits up all night commenting on I know plenty of conservative and libertarian people, and they aren’t nearly as obsessed as you are.

    Are you ok, man?

  6. Knox
    Posted May 3, 2011 at 6:10 am | Permalink

    BOB, can you put your mom on for a minute? We want to ask her some questions.

    And, Mark, why can’t your trolls be as entertaining as Hob the Troll? Perhaps you could arrange to have him give lessons.

  7. missypsi
    Posted May 3, 2011 at 7:48 am | Permalink

    Not to draw us away from the ideological battle over whether funding for the arts constitutes “theft” (though I do love the idea of all trolls being like Hob the Troll, a paragon of trolldom if there ever was one…), but I took a glance at Ann’s coverage of the Water Hill festival, and once I got over the inevitable gag reflex (I’ll cop to it Mark, even if you won’t), I was once again struck by how shamefully one dimensional that rag’s coverage of Ypsilanti is. Just for fun, do what I do when I want to feel my blood boil: type “Ypsilanti” in their search engine window. It will turn up item upon item drawn straight from the police blotter. I’ve complained to them about this before, but it makes no difference. I guess the only consolation is that we actually do live in the coolest place in the world, while those on the other side of 23 simply THINK they do….

  8. Edward
    Posted May 3, 2011 at 8:06 am | Permalink

    You make a great point. I cannot imagine covering Totally Awesome Fest in the same manner. Maybe if there had been a stabbing at Totally Awesome Fest they would have at least mentioned it, though. We’ll have to remember that next time.

  9. Craig L
    Posted May 3, 2011 at 8:19 am | Permalink


    For “Boy O Boy” it was just another late night at the office. He should be ignored. The more you respond, the more he can comment, the more pennies he earns.

    Makes telemarketing look like an honorable career by comparison, huh?

  10. Mr. X
    Posted May 3, 2011 at 8:34 am | Permalink

    Craig, you’re not suggesting that some of the people here are paid to be here, are you? If so, how do I get a deal like that?

  11. Craig L
    Posted May 3, 2011 at 9:02 am | Permalink

    Whether or not they’re paid, I believe they’re recruited and trained. From AlterNet:

    So what’s going on? I’m not suggesting that most of the people trying to derail these discussions are paid to do so, though I would be surprised if none were. I’m suggesting that some of the efforts to prevent intelligence from blooming seem to be organized, and that neither website hosts nor other commenters know how to respond.

    For his film (Astro)Turf Wars, Taki Oldham secretly recorded a training session organized by a rightwing libertarian group called American Majority. The trainer, Austin James, was instructing Tea Party members on how to “manipulate the medium”. This is what he told them:

    “Here’s what I do. I get on Amazon; I type in “Liberal Books”. I go through and I say “one star, one star, one star”. The flipside is you go to a conservative/ libertarian whatever, go to their products and give them five stars. … This is where your kids get information: Rotten Tomatoes, Flixster. These are places where you can rate movies. So when you type in “Movies on Healthcare”, I don’t want Michael Moore’s to come up, so I always give it bad ratings. I spend about 30 minutes a day, just click, click, click, click. … If there’s a place to comment, a place to rate, a place to share information, you have to do it. That’s how you control the online dialogue and give our ideas a fighting chance.”

    Full article:

  12. Brainless
    Posted May 3, 2011 at 9:07 am | Permalink

    Good lord, is important enough for paid astroturfing? Shit man, I gotta step up my game. I usually only frequent third- or fourth-rate blogs. Now that this one is officially second-rate, I gotta find a new place to hang out.

  13. Brainless
    Posted May 3, 2011 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    And what about child labor laws? Since when can a 14-year-old put in these sort of hours? Young lady, do your parents know what you’ve been doing on the interwebs at night (besides masturbating to George Bush news conferences you found on youtube)?

  14. Nina
    Posted May 3, 2011 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

    Mark, why are are your borders so small? You should be happy to live in a county where two great events were happening in the same weekend. The Water Hill Music Festival was great and there were acts who played at both festivals. And I’m sorry to tell you that I actually saw some people from Ypsilanti at Water Hill. You should probably kick them out of your magical kingdom, those traitors.

  15. Patrick
    Posted May 4, 2011 at 9:32 am | Permalink

    Thanks for posting these videos, Mark. It was a really great weekend. A lot of people and businesses were really excited about volunteering and helping with the fest and it was an awesome culmination of everyone’s efforts.

    Unfortunately (speaking of “theft”), there was a red Nord keyboard belonging to the band (From) The Sky that was taken from the back of the Dreamland Theater on Sunday night. If anyone has any information on its location, please contact the YPD. The band is currently on tour; Andy Mitchell was kind enough to let them use his synthesizer for the time being.

  16. Mr. X
    Posted May 4, 2011 at 10:00 am | Permalink

    Sorry to hear this, Patrick. You might want to mention it to the local pawn shops.

    And thanks for the link, Craig.

  17. Posted May 4, 2011 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

    Sorry for the tone, Nina. I didn’t mean for it to sound like that. I do love a lot of stuff about Ann Arbor, and the idea of having a bunch of people making music on porches is great – I just thought that it looked too perfect. Coming from Totally Awesome Fest, I was particularly struck by it. Some of that, no doubt, was the production, though. Anyway, I couldn’t write about TAF without mentioning the event in Ann Arbor. Still, though, you were right to call me out of in. I can go a little too far sometimes when it comes to presenting our two towns as polar opposites.

  18. Chairman Meow
    Posted May 4, 2011 at 9:51 pm | Permalink


  19. Derf
    Posted May 5, 2011 at 3:29 am | Permalink

    Personally, I prefer music that is completely sponsored by one political entity or another.
    Like USO shows.
    Freedom is overrated. You’ve never heard of a stolen keyboard at a USO show.

3 Trackbacks

  1. […] week or so ago, we had a post here in which I noted the differences between the Water Hill Music Festival in Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti’s Totally Awe…. In the comments that followed, as some of you might recall, things finally came around to […]

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