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Posted on Fri, Sep 4, 2009 : 8:40 p.m.

The Jamboree rocks Ypsilanti, continues through Saturday

By Emma Kat Richardson

Colorful hoola hoops, twirling dreadlocks blowing softly in the wind, lawn chair-occupying music lovers sipping cool beers.

It sounds like something out of a Woodstock documentary, but was the scene of The Jamboree (formerly known as the Ypsitucky Jamboree) in Ypsilanti today.

Set against the backdrop of the Riverside Park, nestled against the banks of the Huron River, the Jamboree continues through tomorrow.

With a musical soundtrack spotlighting 25 diverse local bands and 15 regional art vendors, the festival is expected to draw nearly 3,000 people, according to Jamboree director Don Sicheneder. Bands like The Ragbirds, That 1 Guy, and The Macpodz take the stage on Saturday.

“We were looking to do some kind of festival for Ypsi, and I jokingly suggested that we put together a music festival,” Sicheneder said. “Erik Dotzauer, the director of the nonprofit Depot Town Commission Development Corporation, is my buddy from EMU, and we worked together to make this festival a reality.

“We presented the idea to the Depot Town board, and started the planning nine months ago. We’re already looking forward to continuing the festival for years to come.”

Tonight’s festival kickoff brought together a crowd including both young and old, hippies and more average folks, kids and parents — a bond made by an unbreakable love of music.

“I love bluegrass and top-notch country music, so I knew I had to come here for the Jamboree,” said Martin Stenzel, an Ypsilanti resident and festival volunteer. “It’s great music — the kind you can’t normally find anywhere, except maybe on NPR. I definitely think that we’re helping out the local economy, too, here in Ypsi. This festival will help bring in money and support for those of us who have been suffering under the economic recession.”

The Jamboree continues all day Saturday. Gates open at 11 a.m. Tickets are $20, with free admission for children 12 and under.

Photos by Emma Richardson.