You are viewing this article in the archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see
Posted on Thu, Jan 26, 2012 : 11:50 a.m.

Michigan Roots Jamboree co-founder Andrew Clock named Ypsilanti Heritage Festival coordinator

By Tom Perkins

The Heritage Festival has turned to Ypsilanti’s younger generation to take over the annual festival's leadership.

Andrew Clock, who co-founded Ypsilanti's Michigan Roots Jamboree festival and is deeply involved in the community, was named the Heritage Festival’s coordinator on Jan. 24.


Ypsilanti resident Monet Kovalak rides on a camel during the Ypsilanti Heritage Festival in Ypsilanti on Aug. 20, 2011.

Angela J. Cesere |

The move comes several months after a group of leaders, including several members of the Festival Steering Committee and its co-coordinators, parted with the festival for personal reasons. That leadership group had been in place for around 13 years.

“I think they’re to the point where the older folks have run their course and they’re ready to take a step back,” Clock said. “If they want to keep the festival going, then they need to hand it down to the next generation.”

Clock said one of his primary goals is to make the festival more relevant for the 18-to-35-year old age set while preserving the festival’s traditions and aspects that already make it attractive to people who have attended since its inception 30 years ago.

He said that could include working with more local bands, local artists and new businesses that have popped up in the area in recent years.

“I want to attract a younger demographic, but at the same time I don’t want to discount people who have been coming for years and years,” Clock said. “If you have come to the festival for last 10 years, you aren’t not going to come and wonder ‘What happened to our festival?’ I want those people to come down and say ‘These are really great additions.’”

Clock was a founding member of the Jamboree, which is a large annual summer music festival held in Ypsilanti. He worked for three years as their volunteer manager, though he says Jamboree organizers wore many hats and he has experience with all aspects of running a large festival.

That and experience with other local projects has helped Clock develop a network in the community, and it provided him experience in working with sponsors. Barry Marshall, Chairman of the Heritage Festival’s Board of Trustees, said in October that identifying new funding sources was one of the critical issues facing the festival.

Clock said he doesn’t yet have information on the festival’s finances, but said fundraising is always one of the more challenging issues. Bringing new sponsors and volunteers aboard will be two main focuses for the upcoming year, he said, and offering sponsors naming rights to a stage or giving them something in return is one approach to attracting new funding sources.

“I'll have a steep learning curve and this will be a much different experience, but my experience at the Jamboree has given me a leg up,” he said.

The festival will continue refocusing on Ypsilanti’s history as it has done in recent years, and Clock said the gaming tent, which was held off-site last year, will return. He underscored that all the old favorites will be back, even as the event sees some changes to focus more on what the community’s younger population is doing.

“Overall, what I’m really hoping to do is build on what (the festival) has been for the last 30 years,” Clock said. “Just try to make it something that's really trying to focus on what we have going on now and all the great activities happening in Ypsilanti."



Sat, Jan 28, 2012 : 10:03 p.m.

It is high time for the next generation to go ahead and take over all this stuff. Awesome choice, he cares, and has put in the sweat equity to lead.

Linda French

Fri, Jan 27, 2012 : 12:27 p.m.

I am with Tom Dodd. Lets get this show on the road. Ypsi spirit is alive and well.

Lets Get Real

Fri, Jan 27, 2012 : 5:50 p.m.

Linda is a team player. Good for you Linda. Hope you are feeling better.

Ronald Crow

Fri, Jan 27, 2012 : 12:02 p.m.

Nice to see "the ole geezer" is still around to help out. Tom was my teacher at Community High.


Fri, Jan 27, 2012 : 3:08 a.m.

Want to make your voice heard concerning this year's festival? Then take a moment and fill out this quick, easy survey! <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> (copy and paste this link into your browser)

Bob Krzewinski

Fri, Jan 27, 2012 : 2:14 a.m.

Having worked on the Water Street Trail project with Andy, I can state for a fact that he is incredibly hard working, knows how to make connections with people and full of enthusiasm. If you want to criticize him, well then why didn't YOU apply to run the Heritage Festival???


Thu, Jan 26, 2012 : 9:56 p.m.

Isn't Andy like 40 years old? This passes for youth in Ypsilanti nowadays? Whatever. Good luck Andy. I'm excited that gambling is back. I clean up every year.


Thu, Jan 26, 2012 : 8:28 p.m.

I've worked with Andy on the Jamboree, and they couldn't have made a better choice! Great guy!

Tom Dodd

Thu, Jan 26, 2012 : 7:10 p.m.

At last: a new coordinator for our Festival. Congratulations, Andy. You can count on this geezer helping out where ever you need help. Meanwhile, the &quot;Let's Put The Heritage Back Into Ypsilanti&quot; Committee has lots of new/old ideas for you and your Steering Committee to consider. Festival is only five months away!


Thu, Jan 26, 2012 : 7:26 p.m.

Unless they've changed the date, the festival is 7 months away. :) Traditionally it's been the third weekend in August.


Thu, Jan 26, 2012 : 6:54 p.m.

Stop being rude or pointing out perceived shortcomings. Director of the HF is a HUGE responsibility and he's going to need help and everyone pulling together. So knock it off. Good luck Andy!

Depot Town

Thu, Jan 26, 2012 : 5:33 p.m.

I heard he was the fourth choice because everyone else turned it down. Any truth to that rumor?


Sat, Jan 28, 2012 : 10:01 p.m.

naysayers...there is no room for you in Ypsi...just stay home

Lets Get Real

Fri, Jan 27, 2012 : 5:48 p.m.

Clearly, he already doesn't know how to be gracious and temper his statements to the &quot;news&quot;


Thu, Jan 26, 2012 : 5:32 p.m.

Nicely done! congratulations Andy!

Lets Get Real

Fri, Jan 27, 2012 : 5:47 p.m.

You talking about the behind the scenes manuvering he's been doing to create a job for himself, unseat the people who have worked so hard to make the festival successful, the bring his &quot;new brand&quot; - seemingly revolving around music - to the event. Andy, it is a Heritage Festival, with an emphasis on &quot;Heritage&quot; You started a music festival. Too bad they don't pay you, but that was your choice and your passion. This is sad for the longtime, hardworking people who know what it takes to make THIS festival successful. Yes, the learning curve will be steep - especially for know-it-alls who don't or won't listen to experience and wisdom from those who really do know. Here's a case where silence is golden.


Thu, Jan 26, 2012 : 5:31 p.m.

"I think they're to the point where the older folks have run their course and they're ready to take a step back," Clock said. "If they want to keep the festival going, then they need to hand it down to the next generation." This is one of the many reasons it sucks getting old - when younger generations think of you as useless. Mr. Clock needs to know that one day he'll be the same age as some of the folks that have, according to him, &quot;run their course&quot;. Sheesh! Maybe they should ship the former planners off to a deserted island since they aren't doing much good here.


Thu, Jan 26, 2012 : 9:48 p.m.

The average age of the steering committee was like 137 years old folks. Seriously, the committee was burned out and sought youth; I did not sense he was pushing them aside at all. It is to their credit they are still involved, giving advice and guidance. What if he was not the first choice? So What ... Brady Hoke was not the first choice for U-M and that worked out well. Give him a chance, he has his hands full. And for all the grand new ideas that they want to implement, it was the mundane stuff that burned out the last committee - stuff that HAD to get done. Parking, trash, set-up, electricity, logistics, and on and on. Anyone can say &quot;the festival needs 'blah blah' to get better&quot; but the festival needs more and younger folk to get involved on every level. The trash coordinator is not sexy but its essential.


Thu, Jan 26, 2012 : 7:19 p.m.

please look at some of the previous articles about this event and the organization behind it - they have either in person or in the paper said the same thing about themselves and its appropriate. They were looking for energy and vitality...they got it. Good Luck Andy - this is a big challenge.