The time is here again when we come together at the Earthwork Farm for one incredible weekend. In the early 20s of any given September (20-22 this year), you can find me in Lake City, MI, with the majority of my favorite people, rain or shine.
For those that have been there, you are aware of the special magic that is Harvest Gathering.
For those that are thinking of attending, or have never been, here are the top 10 reasons why it is my favorite weekend of the year.
1. The Music
Some are dear friends who live far away, but make pilgrimages to Michigan just for Harvest, like Gregory Stovetop, Dan Kahn, or Mike + Ruthy.
Some are local favorites, like Seth & May or Breathe Owl Breathe.
Some are performers that are most known for their support of others, like Sam Cooper and Tyler Duncan, but that are playing special sets under their own names this year.
Some are dear ones that make rare solo appearances only at Harvest Gathering, like Michael Anne Erlewine.
This is a tiny, tiny sampling of some of the acts that I am excited for this year. There are so many more. Nearly every Earthwork artist will be present. Fabulous acts from around the state and country will be in attendance. It's astounding the amount of talent and musicianship and the sheer number quality performers that one festival can contain.
2. Ray's Polish Fire
You can put in anything. Anything. It is always abundant, as the creators of this fine hot sauce will be hard at work in the kitchen!
and on that note...
3. The Food
Whether it's a delicious dish from one of the carefully selected vendors, or some Pleasanton bread and hearty soup prepared by the Harvest Kitchen, your belly is sure to be happy. There are options for all dietary needs! Love meat? Bob's Bovine Burgers are made from grass-fed, free range cows that are raised with love on the Earthwork Farm. Vegetarian? The Harvest Kitchen will fill you up. I've even heard testimony that Pleasanton Bakery bread is the only gluten-full bread that some of my gluten-free friends can eat! And it's so good.
4. The Remembrance
This year, we have the unique opportunity to honor some of the special hearts that we've lost this year. There will be tributes for David Fetzer, Patrick Carroll, and Bob Russell happening throughout the weekend. What better way to honor our dear ones than to be surrounded by those that they love and that love them?
5. The Lovin'
I often joke that I should just walk around the festival with my arms outstretched because I spend more time hugging people than not. Between meeting new people and catching up with old friends, my arms are never at my sides. I love it. It fills me up for the rest of the year.
6. The Farm
The Earthwork Farm is such a special place. You can feel the work and love that went in to building it. The funds raised at Harvest Gathering go to improving the farm and keeping it going, which is so important. It has been a home to so many, and feels like home to so many more. There is a beautiful barn. There are peacocks everywhere. There is a herd of Scottish Highland Cattle. There is a sawmill. There are three houses. There are woods. There are grasslands. It has everything. It is worth coming to Harvest if only to spend time in this place.
7. The Volunteers
Woah. They work so hard. Kitchen. Parking. Security. Hospitality. Clean Up. Tear Down. Stage Managers. MCs. Kids Area. This festival is run by volunteers, from the organizers to the people that show up of Friday willing to help. I am always amazed at the efforts of the volunteers, and so grateful for all they do. They are dedicated, kind-hearted people that work with a smile. You can become one of them! Check the link at the bottom of this post.
8. Zeek's Bus
The little vintage shop that could. Zeek's Bus is a large school bus that was given to May and Seth by Seth's father (and owner of the farm), Bob Bernard. It sits next to the Hill Stage. It is filled with treasures. There are books and paintings and shoes and clothing and hats. You name it, you can probably find it there. Don't leave the festival without taking a peek. You may walk away a little poorer, but it'll be worth it.
9. The Three-On-Three Basketball Tournament
Who knew the Earthwork crew was so athletic? Sunday morning means basketball at Harvest Gathering. Three-on-three teams are formed throughout the weekend. Gregory Stovetop provides a suspenseful electric guitar soundtrack. An announcer fills you in on what's happening. A champion is born. The only rule is that you have to shoot the ball when a car drives past, no matter where you are. Don't miss it.
10. Sharing Harvest Gathering
I love sharing this festival with friends, new and old. I especially love bringing people who have never been and observing their experience. It's so special. There is no other word for it. I know I've overused it, but it's just true.
So bring your friends, bring your parents, bring your babies.
Discover your own favorite things about Harvest Gathering.
The Earthwork Music collective believes in the intrinsic and historical power of music to raise both community and self-awareness and serves to facilitate and encourage original music in the state of Michigan and beyond.