Ann Arbor Art Fair is music to your ears
Just as it should be, the focus will be on the visuals during the Ann Arbor Art Fair, which takes over the town from July 20-23. But I’d like to highlight some of the cool musical entertainment you will be able to hear while you’re checking out all that fabulous art.
Consisting of the Ann Arbor Street Art Fair (The Original), Ann Arbor Summer Art Fair, State Street Area Art Fair, and the South University Art Fair, the extravaganza will also feature everything from high school bands to nationally recognized recording artists.
Everything begins with the kick-off Townie Street Party on Monday, July 18, from 5-9:30 p.m., a fundraiser for the Ann Arbor Street Art Fair. The impressive musical lineup that evening will include the Americana-leaning Alison Lewis and the String of Ponies, the always great Dick Siegel & the Brandos, and folk-world music practitioners the Ragbirds. Look and listen for the Townie Street Party on Washington Street between Thayer and Fletcher.
During the four days of the fair, the Street Art Fair will have street performers including Ann Arbor’s beloved blues & boogie-woogie pianist Mr. B, aka Mark Braun. Mark will have just finished another Joybox Express excursion, his ambitious charity bicycle ride across the state of Michigan. And also on the street will be Bob Culbertson, who is a virtuoso on the stick. And we’re not talking twigs and branches here—the stick is an unusual-looking electric stringed instrument that combines aspects of both guitar and bass. The Fountain Stage on Ingalls Mall will also be the center of a ton of music at the Street Art Fair, with jazz provided by the Michael Malis Trio, The Anderson Quintet and the Blank-Walbridge Duo. In addition, there will be student groups from the Michigan-based Axis Music Academy and some spiffy choreography provided by People Dancing, the O’Hare School of Irish Dance, WCC Dancers and more.
The music at the Ann Arbor Summer Art Fair is being presented by the respected Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti music and arts publication iSPY, which has come up with an intriguing, eclectic batch of performers.
IAmDynamite is an indie-rock duo consisting of only drums and guitar, but they pack a formidable punch and have been compared to that other famous twosome the White Stripes. Also on stage will be the Michigan-based roots outfit Dragon Wagon plus the self-described ‘horror-country’ group Graveyard Train from Melbourne, Australia.
A few other bands and DJ sets round out the Summer Art Fair lineup, with all the music taking place on Liberty Street between Main and Ashley.
You won’t want to miss the Bright Lights Tree City Super Jam on Wednesday, July 20, bringing together members of the Macpodz, Ragbirds, Ella Riot and Nomo for a special, one-off performance. And last but not least, the great Louisiana singer-songwriter Marc Broussard headlines on Friday, July 22. The ‘bayou-soul’ vocalist has an astonishingly powerful voice and is touring to support his fine new self-titled album, just out on Atlantic Records.
Information on all the Art Fairs is available through www.artfairs.visitannarbor.org, and watch AnnArbor.com for full schedules and coverage.
Martin Bandyke is the 6-10am morning drive host at Ann Arbor's 107one. Follow him on Twitter and at www.martinbandyke.com.