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Your Guide to Handmade Music 19

By Kevin Alan Lamb

Summer may have been hesitant to show its true colors this year, but with each action, an equal and opposite reaction. October is upon our doorstep but the sun is shining bright and warm weather continues to accompany us into fall. 

It is Harvest weekend and that can mean only one thing, Handmade Music is the last stop on the 2019 Michigan festival circuit, and we don’t have to wait until October for it! Returning for a second year (with authority), Handmade Music has found a new home on the calendar, taking place September 27-28 at Showboat Park in Chesaning, MI. 

Celebrating The Beatles’ 50th anniversary of their release of Abbey Road, Handmade Music has booked The Red Sea Pedestrians and The Corn Fed Girls to headline and perform this 1969 classic masterpiece in its entirety. See them performing “Come Together” below:

Like most, The Beatles have a special place in my heart. I grew up with them, fell asleep with them, and even got my first tattoo as tribute to them, their music, and positive influence in this world. “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” helped me understand that I was sensitive and receptive to energies and emotions to an extent that others would not feel the weight of. Afterall, isn’t that the artist’s plight? We create to help ourselves and others navigate experience. So many of us rely on music and the community it weaves into our lives. Places like Handmade Music provide an access point where we can discover, nurture, and expand on both a personal and social level. 

With one year in the books, I asked the Handmade team for some of their personal highlights from 2018. 

“My highlight of 2018 was to once again having music flowing through Showboat Park in the heart of Chesaning. The love and passion for music being celebrated was beautiful to witness.” Cheri Thiel

“The feeling of accomplishment and pride when everything was set up and ready to receive the musicians and festival goers. Witnessing  hugs, smiles and a couple tears shared between Evan and Cole throughout the weekend. The gratitude that everyone involved and attended shared so freely.” Shelly Rupple-English

Handmade Music is built by people like you. People who love music and wanted to give it a permanent space in their home. There is no place like Michigan, especially when considering our music scene and the plethora of family-friendly, independent music festivals, blossoming because of your (our) love. In some way, each festival is connected to the next and helps support its survival; but no festival has hope without you. 

Staying true to their roots, this year’s lineup is curated exclusively with Michigan acts (15). A few highlights of this year’s lineup are Desmond Jones, Chirp, The Rupple Brothers, Charlie Millard Band, and Earth Radio, named “Emerging Artist of The Year” and awarded “Best Jazz Album of 2018” by WYCE at the 2019 Jammie Awards.

“We are kicking off our second year with ‘Music from the Mitten,’ a celebration of Michigan musicians and their original music – handmade and homegrown. That is who we are. We look forward to celebrating with you.”

Single day, weekend, and student passes are found here

“Handmade original Michigan bands! Vendors, food trucks, camping, family friendly, & incredible music!  Come celebrate your community!”

Overnight camping is included with weekend passes, and children under 12 are free, offering an affordable, family friendly getaway accessible to all of Michigan. 

“The Handmade Music Festival was created by and for the love of music and community. We are creating an atmosphere where the music flows freely, as does love, friendship and gratitude. Music is a universal language, bringing generations together and that is our mission. We are creating the perfect atmosphere while swaying to a handpicked playlist of bluegrass, psychedelic folk, Americana, and soul.”

Located on the banks of the Shiawassee, Showboat Park is 68 acres of opportunity to explore and enjoy. Chesaning offers “respite and relaxation, quaint and quintessential. It’s the kind of place where you can still stroll along the boulevard or stop into mom & pop shops and be greeted by the owners themselves.” (Pure Michigan)

Chesaning’s amphitheater, located inside Showboat Park, was home to many musicians, dancers and members of this wonderful community for decades. A portion of  proceeds will be donated to the preservation and maintenance of the amphitheater, allowing the community to once again bring art to life right in their own backyard.

Additionally, Handmade Music will benefit the CAER Center of Chesaning, which provides free clothing, household goods and food to area families. Donations by local residents and area churches help provide needed assistance to neighbors in our community.

 “We were very uncertain how our festival and it’s grassroots nature would be received during and after it’s first year! Chesaning held one of the longest running music festivals in the nation until a few years ago, but even with that – it was hard to gauge what our community envisioned for this event and what outcome they expected! The support for Handmade has only grown as the dawn of the first days of Handmade 2019 grow near. Our sponsors are our heroes; our volunteers make this happen; and our artists some of the best songwriters Michigan has to offer. It would not be possible without this beautiful, helpful community of Chesaning!” 

Are you ready to let go of your summer? Perhaps there could be one more stop on your festival circuit… Maybe it’s just time to dive into the very beautiful thing you’ve been long missing. I don’t have the answers, but I do have the music, and so could you. 

Just in case you were listening for one, This Is A Good Sound. 

Where is Handmade Music Festival?

Showboat Park, Chesaning (Google knows)

When do gates open?

Friday 12:00 AM / Saturday 10:00 AM

When does music start?

Friday: Les Older & The Ganja Gang 6:00 PM / Saturday: Barabrossa Brothers 12:00 PM

Can I buy tickets at the gate?

Yes! General Admission and VIP tickets will be sold at the gate. Weekend General Admission tickets are $50, camping is included – electricity/fire pits are first come, first serve.

Kid friendly?

Absolutely! Kids under 12 are free 🙂

Can I come for only Saturday?

Yes! Saturday passes are $35 and include camping, so be safe, have fun and sleepover with us!

Can I bring by dog?

Pets are not allowed, but we sure do love them!


Please, no glass.

Are there fire pits?

Big time! Bring firewood if you can.

Are there bathrooms and showers?

You bet! Showboat park has a number of permanent facilities with showers and bathrooms.


The Shiawassee River, duh! Just kidding. While there aren’t filling stations, there are drinking fountains. Best to bring water! You know, the one gallon jugs so we use less plastic.

Are the stages covered?

The weather looks beautiful but yes! Both stages are enclosed by tents, so no worries.


That’s a negative Ghostrider, bring cash if you plan on using it.


Of course we like beer! But it will not be sold on site so bring your own.

Handmade Merch?

Yes, there will be official Handmade Music t-shirts and sweatshirts for sale.

Late night music?

Everything is possible. Follow your ears.

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