I've been looking forward to Mittenfest since before it was announced. In fact, I might have been looking forward to Mittenfest since a few years back, when I was living in Chicago and found out that all my favorite acts from my homestate would all be gathering for the four day festival - And a dirt cheap price. This year, however, Mittenfest has become something more than it was to me, at least, featuring not only some of Michigan's best acts but also some of the best acts in indie music as a whole.
Earlier this year, I (along with everyone playing, running, or looking forward to Mittenfest) had a crushing moment of fear and disappointment when the 'fest's venue of choice, the wonderful Savoy in Ypsilanti, Michigan, closed it's doors due to some unforntunate circumstances that were no fault of the venue. My first thought was "But what about Mitttenfest?!" Thankfully, Woodruff's (36 East Cross Street, Ypsilanti) came into existence, opening it's doors and saving the day.
Mittenfest is taking place for four wonderful days, starting Thursday the 30th and wrapping up on January 2nd, and it costs a mere $7 a day or $25 for a full four day wristband, availible at the Liberty Street Robot Supply and Repair Company (115 East Liberty, Ann Arbor).
The acts I'm looking forward to seeing most are divided into two categories: Michigan bands I know and love and have seen countless times or bands I've heard a significant amount of buzz for but have never caught live before. With sixty bands playing the fest, it would be impossible for me to know them all as well as I do January 2nd's Lightning Love or Frontier Ruckus, who are headlining New Year's Eve. While I am quite anxious to see such tried and true Amber Valentine favorites as Gun Lake and Chris Bathgate (More on them tomorrow!), what has me really pumped about Mittenfest is as follows:
- Discovering new music. Despite being incredibly well versed in the Michigan scene, I can say with certainty that on day one, five of the fifteen acts playing. Given what solid music Mittenfest is known for bringing to Ypsi, I can say with just about complete certainty that acts like Matt Jones & The Reconstruction (Headlining day 1) and This Is Deer Country (Playing at 8:25 on the first day) will become new favorites of mine after the 'fest wraps up.
- Seeing bands I like for the first time. Hey, you know who's awesome? Drunken Barn Dance! They're headlining the final day of the 'fest, playing right after my favorite band in the history of the world, Lightning Love, and despite the fact that they're awesome, I've yet to see them play! Same goes for Ypsi-by-way-of-Chicago's The Ultrasounds, who'll be gracing Woodruff's with their presence on Day 3 at 6:25.
- New year's eve dance party. After Frontier Ruckus wrap up their sure-to-be impecable set, which starts at 1:05 a.m. on January 1st, DJ Chuck Sipperley takes the reigns to keep you movin' until Woodruff's forces you back into the frigid Michigan air. Last year, I had the best new year's ever... From what I can remember. This year, I aim to not only out-do last year but make New Year's 2010 look like a paltry snooze-fest in comparison to New Year's 2011. Watch out, Ypsilanti! Hide your booze and twenty-something bearded gentlemen! Amber Valentine is comin' out to drink your liquor and kiss your boys!
Watch RFC all the rest of this week for more special Mittenfest coverage - And then keep an eye out for some crazy review action and a slew of pics courtesy of myself and one mister Matt Roney, my partner in Mittenfest crime! For more motivation to trek to Ypsi for a fair few days, check out RFC's first post on Mittenfest from last month and check back tomorrow for spotlights on a few of my favorite Mittenfest acts. See you at Woodruff's!