Mittenfest to return to Ypsilanti

During last night’s episode of The Saturday Six Pack, some pretty huge news was broken. Amanda Uhle, the executive director of 826michigan, announced that everyone’s favorite fiercely-Michigan winter music festival, Mittenfest, would be returning to Ypsilanti. This year, according to Uhle, the multi-day event will be taking place in the cavern beneath Bona Sera, beginning on Tuesday, December 29, and running trough Saturday, January 2. Asked why the festival would be returning, after having moved to Ann Arbor last year in the wake of Woodruff’s having closed, Uhle said, “Ypsi has always felt really right.”


This is great news for Ypsi, and I cannot express how appreciative I am that Uhle and others put in the effort to bring this feel-good end-of-year event back to Ypsilanti from Ann Arbor. Not only is it an awesome festival, but all of the money raised over the course of the event goes toward funding 826michigan’s programs in Ypsilanti, helping our kids unlock their potential and become great writers.

A few quick thoughts and ideas…

1. While the good folks behind Mittenfest haven’t yet officially started taking applications from bands around the state that would like to perform, their contact information is online, and I’d encourage interested parties (especially those in bands that I like) to start reaching out to them as soon as possible.

2. I don’t know if such a thing would be possible, but it would be great if this year’s big event could be kicked off with Lee Osler performing his classic, Back to Ypsilanti. It would be both incredibly appropriate, given the return of the festival, and amazingly beautiful.

3. Given that the last day of Mittenfest is a Saturday, I’m thinking that we might be able to work it out so that The Saturday Six Pack could host some kind of complimnetary event. I’m not yet sure what it would look like, but I’m suspect that we could figure something out. Maybe we’d have kids from 826 in the studio, reading their work between recorded highlights from the previous nights’ shows. Or maybe we’d just leave our door open, and invite people in to talk as they make their way in and out of Bona Sera, which is right down the block from the AM 1700 studio. If you have other ideas, let me know.

4. I’m not sure how it would work, but it would also be cool if the work that Matt Jones has been doing to identify and record musicians around the state could somehow be leveraged for Mittenfest. Again, I’m not sure what it would look like, but, as the two things seem to share certain pro-Michigan spirit, I think it would be cool if a way could be found for the parties involved to work together. Maybe, for instance, Matt could reach out through his rapidly evolving network to get more musicians here from other parts of the state for the event. Or, maybe, if there are some folks on the bill who he hasn’t yet documented, he could record them for his project when they come into Ypsi for Mittenfest. Or maybe he could even release some of his recordings in the run up to Mittenfest, drawing attention to the depth and breadth of work being produced here, in the mitten state. Now, that would be cool.

OK, that’s it for now… If you still want more, check out this interview I did a while back about the origins of Mittenfest… And do buy tickets for this year’s event, once they go on sale. 826 is doing great work in Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti and Detroit, and they deserve our support.

[The above Mittenfest poster, to which I added “Back to Ypsilanti,” was designed by Jen Harley.]

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  1. Rad
    Posted August 31, 2015 at 6:41 am | Permalink

    Will Champions of Breakfast be returning?

  2. anonymous
    Posted August 31, 2015 at 8:21 am | Permalink

    This is also the 10th anniversary show. I hope it goes well.

  3. 734
    Posted August 31, 2015 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    Might Matt Jones be persuaded to put some of his River Street Anthology tracks online for download with proceeds going toward 826 or another local nonprofit?

  4. Sarah
    Posted August 31, 2015 at 9:50 am | Permalink

    Is Mittenfest supplying bartenders and doing it all themselves, or are the relying on Bona Sera to do that? My concern is that Bona Sera may not be able to keep up as running a bar during a big event like this is something that they’ve never done before. I hope it goes well.

  5. Ben Miller
    Posted August 31, 2015 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

    This is really great. Mittenfest moving back to Ypsilanti, it’s rightful home. Really loved last years Seraphine Collective touch from Dina Bankole and Linda Ann Jordan. Would love to see more of that, more genders / orientations / ethnicities / styles!

  6. Doug Coombe
    Posted August 31, 2015 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

    Let’s find Lee! Let’s find Lee!

  7. Demetrius
    Posted August 31, 2015 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

    If you are able to get Lee Osler to come “back to Ypsilanti,” be sure to let me know.

    I would love to have him autograph my original 45 rpm version of his classic song!

  8. Posted August 31, 2015 at 8:28 pm | Permalink

    It will be exciting for all in attendance.

  9. Posted August 31, 2015 at 8:59 pm | Permalink

    No worries! Bona Sera has run many events since our underground days. We have special event bartenders who can take this festival on! We are looking forward to being part of the special benifit, hearing all the great music and embracing the talents of our ypsilanti community!

  10. kjc
    Posted September 1, 2015 at 8:38 am | Permalink

    “Really loved last years Seraphine Collective touch from Dina Bankole and Linda Ann Jordan. Would love to see more of that, more genders / orientations / ethnicities / styles!”


  11. Posted September 2, 2015 at 11:57 am | Permalink

    This rules. Also, Back to Ypsilanti LIVE?! I might never recover.

  12. Quinn
    Posted September 6, 2015 at 8:27 am | Permalink

    I agree with Ben that the diversity of last year’s fest was a welcome change. I was expecting to be disappointed since the event was moved to Ann Arbor, but it ended up being my favorite Mittenfest in recent years. I discovered some great musicians thanks to Dina. More women, queers, people of color, and diverse genres please!

One Trackback

  1. […] Next up was Amanda Uhle, the executive director of 826michigan, who came by to tell us that the Mittenfest festival would be returning to Ypsilanti this year after having left for Ann Arbor last winter. [For more information, see my post from just after Uhle made the announcement.] […]

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