Events

The Top 29 Summer Festivals in Michigan

Published On 05/12/2015 Published On 05/12/2015
Flickr/dailybeatz (Edited)

Date

Event

Location

May 14 Thu

National Morel Mushroom Festival A festival in honor of one of the world’s most prized mushroom species (read: for its divine culinary qualities, not for its ability to break laws of the space-time continuum.) Expect lots of morel hunters from all over as well as secret recipes and songs about mushroom lore. They grow ‘em big up there. 

Boyne City

National Morel Mushroom Festival Boyne City A festival in honor of one of the world’s most prized mushroom species (read: for its divine culinary qualities, not for its ability to break laws of the space-time continuum.) Expect lots of morel hunters from all over as well as secret recipes and songs about mushroom lore. They grow ‘em big up there. 

Date

Event

Location

May 23 Sat

Movement Music Festival Movement attracts an international crowd -- techno music pilgrims flocking to their musical Mecca. It’s just another form of music that Detroit gave to the world. This festival has zero shame, and you’re likely to see a lot of skin, sin, and slightly embarrassing dance moves. Visual effects and illicit substances go together like bass and drums, and when the buildings around Hart Plaza start to illuminate with neon colors, you get the overarching sense that you’re at one of the epicenters of the modern musical universe. If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. 

Detroit

Movement Music Festival Detroit Movement attracts an international crowd -- techno music pilgrims flocking to their musical Mecca. It’s just another form of music that Detroit gave to the world. This festival has zero shame, and you’re likely to see a lot of skin, sin, and slightly embarrassing dance moves. Visual effects and illicit substances go together like bass and drums, and when the buildings around Hart Plaza start to illuminate with neon colors, you get the overarching sense that you’re at one of the epicenters of the modern musical universe. If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. 

Flickr/kshawphoto (Edited)

Date

Event

Location

Jun 5 Fri

Downtown Hoedown If you have not yet in your life witnessed enough demoralizing behavior on behalf of the human race, here’s your chance to catch up. Over the course of two days, you could have enough material to write a thesis on how throngs of people from all socio-economic backgrounds are affected by copious amounts of light beer, American flag bikinis, and some of the worst bastardizations of country music known to man. 

Detroit

Downtown Hoedown Detroit If you have not yet in your life witnessed enough demoralizing behavior on behalf of the human race, here’s your chance to catch up. Over the course of two days, you could have enough material to write a thesis on how throngs of people from all socio-economic backgrounds are affected by copious amounts of light beer, American flag bikinis, and some of the worst bastardizations of country music known to man. 

Date

Event

Location

Jun 6 Sat

Motor City Pride For a completely opposite experience to the Hoedown, wait a week for when Hart Plaza is transformed into a gully of rainbows, unicorns, and free love. This festival, which celebrates the LGBT community and its allies, is never boring. 

Detroit

Motor City Pride Detroit For a completely opposite experience to the Hoedown, wait a week for when Hart Plaza is transformed into a gully of rainbows, unicorns, and free love. This festival, which celebrates the LGBT community and its allies, is never boring. 

Date

Event

Location

Jun 11 Thu

Frankenmuth Bavarian Festival Polka-dancing, kegs, a German car show, euchre, cornhole, wursts of all sorts, and lederhosen. If that doesn’t make you want to yell "ja!," you may need to seriously work on your psyche.  

Frankenmuth

Frankenmuth Bavarian Festival Frankenmuth Polka-dancing, kegs, a German car show, euchre, cornhole, wursts of all sorts, and lederhosen. If that doesn’t make you want to yell "ja!," you may need to seriously work on your psyche.  

Date

Event

Location

Jun 25 Thu

Electric Forest Equal parts fairy tale, commune, and rave. Expect the ubiquitous dreadlocks, bare midriffs, and mandals you’ll find in high quantity at other festivals. What makes Electric Forest unique? An eclectic line-up of artists and one of the finest locations for an outdoor camping and concert soiree -- nestled in the towering red pine forests of Western Michigan, close enough to fresh water so you can wash all that love off at the end of the weekend. 

Rothbury

Electric Forest Rothbury Equal parts fairy tale, commune, and rave. Expect the ubiquitous dreadlocks, bare midriffs, and mandals you’ll find in high quantity at other festivals. What makes Electric Forest unique? An eclectic line-up of artists and one of the finest locations for an outdoor camping and concert soiree -- nestled in the towering red pine forests of Western Michigan, close enough to fresh water so you can wash all that love off at the end of the weekend. 

Flickr/joeross (Edited)

Date

Event

Location

Jul 7 Tue

Common Ground Music Festival Common Ground hosts a pretty diverse line-up each year along Adado Riverfront Park, which is actually, really, really nice. Expect to see some degree of washed-up artists from the '80s, '90s and early aughts, plenty of CMT acts, but also some really solid artists who make Common Ground their only Michigan stop in the summer.  

Lansing

Common Ground Music Festival Lansing Common Ground hosts a pretty diverse line-up each year along Adado Riverfront Park, which is actually, really, really nice. Expect to see some degree of washed-up artists from the '80s, '90s and early aughts, plenty of CMT acts, but also some really solid artists who make Common Ground their only Michigan stop in the summer.  

Date

Event

Location

Jul 9 Sat

Wyandotte Street Art Fair Downriver takes a lot of slack around this state. But Wyandotte is a bit of a shining jewel amid the strip malls and blue collars. This festival has been around for more than 50 years and makes a trip down South more than worth it with its variety of arts and entertainment.

Wyandotte

Wyandotte Street Art Fair Wyandotte Downriver takes a lot of slack around this state. But Wyandotte is a bit of a shining jewel amid the strip malls and blue collars. This festival has been around for more than 50 years and makes a trip down South more than worth it with its variety of arts and entertainment.

Date

Event

Location

Jul 10 Fri

Michigan Elvisfest There’s not a whole lot left up to the imagination with this title. Elvis impersonators, dancing, vintage cars, food & drink, and a candlelight vigil in honor of the King. Get those hips ready for the excessive swiveling about to commence.

Ypsilanti

Michigan Elvisfest Ypsilanti There’s not a whole lot left up to the imagination with this title. Elvis impersonators, dancing, vintage cars, food & drink, and a candlelight vigil in honor of the King. Get those hips ready for the excessive swiveling about to commence.

Date

Event

Location

Jul 11-Aug 2

Black Rock Medieval Festival Michigan is a state where you can act out your Renaissance fantasies basically all summer long, so long as your therapist approves. Consider Black Rock, celebrating its fourth year at Old World Village, your pre-game for another festival coming up later on this list. 

Augusta

Black Rock Medieval Festival Augusta Michigan is a state where you can act out your Renaissance fantasies basically all summer long, so long as your therapist approves. Consider Black Rock, celebrating its fourth year at Old World Village, your pre-game for another festival coming up later on this list. 

Date

Event

Location

Jul 15 Wed

Ann Arbor Street Art Fair This fair is an institution, and if you can get past the parking hassle and the crowds, it’s a great reason to visit the People’s Republic of Ann Arbor and honor the Almighty Harbaugh among throngs of America’s future elite. 

Ann Arbor

Ann Arbor Street Art Fair Ann Arbor This fair is an institution, and if you can get past the parking hassle and the crowds, it’s a great reason to visit the People’s Republic of Ann Arbor and honor the Almighty Harbaugh among throngs of America’s future elite. 

Date

Event

Location

Jul 17 Fri

Old Town Scrapfest Teams of artists will transform up to 10,000lbs of scrap metal into artistic masterpieces, which will be displayed and then auctioned off at this festival which also features artisans, food, drink, and live music. 

Lansing

Old Town Scrapfest Lansing Teams of artists will transform up to 10,000lbs of scrap metal into artistic masterpieces, which will be displayed and then auctioned off at this festival which also features artisans, food, drink, and live music. 

Date

Event

Location

Jul 17 Fri

Hiawatha Music Festival The largest festival in the Upper Peninsula hosts what you'd expect it to -- traditional music, otherwise known as music to swing an ax to. We’re talking Celtic, Cajun, old-time -- you get the idea. If you’re heading north of the bridge this summer, preferably NOT in a Yugo, you now have yet another reason to visit Marquette, aside from tacos.

Marquette

Hiawatha Music Festival Marquette The largest festival in the Upper Peninsula hosts what you'd expect it to -- traditional music, otherwise known as music to swing an ax to. We’re talking Celtic, Cajun, old-time -- you get the idea. If you’re heading north of the bridge this summer, preferably NOT in a Yugo, you now have yet another reason to visit Marquette, aside from tacos.

Date

Event

Location

Jul 18 Sat

Au Sable River Festival Arts, crafts, yadda yadda. What’s really interesting about this festival is it marks the starting point of the 120-mile Au Sable Canoe Marathon, during which competitors paddle nonstop through the night and have to portage six dams! Some of you city-folk may have trouble picturing this, but it is SERIOUSLY impressive. 

Grayling

Au Sable River Festival Grayling Arts, crafts, yadda yadda. What’s really interesting about this festival is it marks the starting point of the 120-mile Au Sable Canoe Marathon, during which competitors paddle nonstop through the night and have to portage six dams! Some of you city-folk may have trouble picturing this, but it is SERIOUSLY impressive. 

Date

Event

Location

Jul 24 Fri

Michigan Summer Beer Fest Everyone from Michigan knows that we are the nation’s best kept secret when it comes to beer production. Clearly, word has gotten out. Check out this festival to taste-test 800 beers (we dare you -- not really, but try a bunch!) and see why Mitten brews have been garnering international attention for years. 

Ypsilanti

Michigan Summer Beer Fest Ypsilanti Everyone from Michigan knows that we are the nation’s best kept secret when it comes to beer production. Clearly, word has gotten out. Check out this festival to taste-test 800 beers (we dare you -- not really, but try a bunch!) and see why Mitten brews have been garnering international attention for years. 

Date

Event

Location

Jul 25 Sat

Maker Faire Dearborn offers more than just shawarma (though it has lots of mighty fine shawarma), namely this festival, which is all sorts of inspiring. Go check out the odds and ends, all manner of DIY, and support your own creativity with lots of opportunities to tinker around with more than 400 other makers. Don’t be surprised to see a 69ft-tall mechanical, fire-breathing dragon; time machines; or flaming skee-ball. 

Dearborn

Maker Faire Dearborn Dearborn offers more than just shawarma (though it has lots of mighty fine shawarma), namely this festival, which is all sorts of inspiring. Go check out the odds and ends, all manner of DIY, and support your own creativity with lots of opportunities to tinker around with more than 400 other makers. Don’t be surprised to see a 69ft-tall mechanical, fire-breathing dragon; time machines; or flaming skee-ball. 

Date

Event

Location

Jul 29-Aug 3

Traverse City Film Festival Founded by Michael Moore, you know, the guy who put Flint on the map, this film festival is one of the state’s biggest and most widely acclaimed, drawing people from all over the world. Not to mention, it lives in one of Northern Michigan’s best playgrounds with all the microbrews and freshwater you could ask for.

Traverse City

Traverse City Film Festival Traverse City Founded by Michael Moore, you know, the guy who put Flint on the map, this film festival is one of the state’s biggest and most widely acclaimed, drawing people from all over the world. Not to mention, it lives in one of Northern Michigan’s best playgrounds with all the microbrews and freshwater you could ask for.

Back To the Bricks

Date

Event

Location

Aug 11 Tue

Back to the Bricks Flint certainly is renowned for its fair share of troubles, but for a few days, the city goes classic-car crazy. The bricks in this case refer to the red bricks which line a historic portion of Saginaw Street, where the festival is held. Expect lots of Big Three muscle cars and Grand Funk Railroad on repeat. 

Flint

Back to the Bricks Flint Flint certainly is renowned for its fair share of troubles, but for a few days, the city goes classic-car crazy. The bricks in this case refer to the red bricks which line a historic portion of Saginaw Street, where the festival is held. Expect lots of Big Three muscle cars and Grand Funk Railroad on repeat. 

Date

Event

Location

Aug 14 Fri

Hoxeyville Music Festival This festival is held annually on 85 acres of farmland in the middle of the beautiful Manistee National Forest. Expect lots of bare feet and banjos (yes, another rootsy northern Michigan festival), and plenty of entertainment from national acts, as well as your brother’s jug band.

Wellston

Hoxeyville Music Festival Wellston This festival is held annually on 85 acres of farmland in the middle of the beautiful Manistee National Forest. Expect lots of bare feet and banjos (yes, another rootsy northern Michigan festival), and plenty of entertainment from national acts, as well as your brother’s jug band.

Date

Event

Location

Aug 14 Fri

Cheeseburger in Caseville This festival falls under the "Why does this exist?" category. Most people under the age of 45 hate Jimmy Buffet. Regardless, for 10 straight days, this town at the top of the Thumb goes nutso, becoming a weird paragon of Tiki culture for reasons likely kept under lock-and-key by some sort of Margaritaville brotherhood. Good food. Terrible music. Rednecks and retirees. If this sounds awesome to you, you just may have found your lost shaker of salt. 

Caseville

Cheeseburger in Caseville Caseville This festival falls under the "Why does this exist?" category. Most people under the age of 45 hate Jimmy Buffet. Regardless, for 10 straight days, this town at the top of the Thumb goes nutso, becoming a weird paragon of Tiki culture for reasons likely kept under lock-and-key by some sort of Margaritaville brotherhood. Good food. Terrible music. Rednecks and retirees. If this sounds awesome to you, you just may have found your lost shaker of salt. 

Date

Event

Location

Aug 22-Oct 4

Michigan Renaissance Festival Hopefully you’ve visited Black Rock to get your liver primed and the finishing touches done to your costume earlier in the summer, because you’ll need it for this fanatical, frolicking, rowdy soiree. Expect lute solos, dirty jokes about syphilis, jousting, and of course, massive turkey legs. People quit their day jobs for this. Will you be one of them? 

Holly 

Michigan Renaissance Festival Holly  Hopefully you’ve visited Black Rock to get your liver primed and the finishing touches done to your costume earlier in the summer, because you’ll need it for this fanatical, frolicking, rowdy soiree. Expect lute solos, dirty jokes about syphilis, jousting, and of course, massive turkey legs. People quit their day jobs for this. Will you be one of them? 

Date

Event

Location

Aug 28 Fri

Porcupine Mountains Music Festival Nestled nearby some of the most beautiful wilderness in the North Country, this festival is a bit of an institution for music lovers and outdoorsmen alike. There’s even a busking stage set for the amateurs, and we hear tell there’s gold in them there hills. 

Ontonagon 

Porcupine Mountains Music Festival Ontonagon  Nestled nearby some of the most beautiful wilderness in the North Country, this festival is a bit of an institution for music lovers and outdoorsmen alike. There’s even a busking stage set for the amateurs, and we hear tell there’s gold in them there hills. 

Detroit Jazz Festival

Date

Event

Location

Sep 4 Fri

Detroit Jazz Festival The line-up is always impressive; especially considering it’s free. This is where the worlds of Detroit collide and literally all forms of the human species are present. Be prepared for the old people (or young and lazy, we’ve got those too) who camp out in their Meijer-purchased fold-up chairs in front of each stage for hours. And do NOT, we repeat, DO NOT, try to steal anyone’s lemonade, lest ye be caned with a second-line parasol. 

Detroit

Detroit Jazz Festival Detroit The line-up is always impressive; especially considering it’s free. This is where the worlds of Detroit collide and literally all forms of the human species are present. Be prepared for the old people (or young and lazy, we’ve got those too) who camp out in their Meijer-purchased fold-up chairs in front of each stage for hours. And do NOT, we repeat, DO NOT, try to steal anyone’s lemonade, lest ye be caned with a second-line parasol. 

Date

Event

Location

Sep 5 Sat

Hamtramck Labor Day Festival Stroll among the bright lights of the ferris wheel and Yoyo rides, among gutter streams of flowing, golden lager and clouds of sauerkraut pierogi to the soundtrack of a screaming electric quartet. Quite possibly the state’s most comprehensive collection of weirdoes, rock ‘n’ roll, hoodlums, and carnies that you could possibly hope to find on one street. Each Labor Day weekend, Downtown Hamtramck is transformed into a haven for local bands, artists, beer vendors, corn-holers, canoe-racers, fowlers, and every kind of human you can imagine.

Hamtramck

Hamtramck Labor Day Festival Hamtramck Stroll among the bright lights of the ferris wheel and Yoyo rides, among gutter streams of flowing, golden lager and clouds of sauerkraut pierogi to the soundtrack of a screaming electric quartet. Quite possibly the state’s most comprehensive collection of weirdoes, rock ‘n’ roll, hoodlums, and carnies that you could possibly hope to find on one street. Each Labor Day weekend, Downtown Hamtramck is transformed into a haven for local bands, artists, beer vendors, corn-holers, canoe-racers, fowlers, and every kind of human you can imagine.

Date

Event

Location

Sep 11 Fri

Wheatland Music Festival Northern Michigan plays host to all your folk/roots/bluegrass desires throughout the summer months. There’s absolutely no shortage of twang and harmonizing, no matter where you turn. Basic idea: you can’t swing a banjo north of Lansing in the summer without hitting some white people with stringed instruments. But there’s one festival that has stood the test of time, the grandpappy of them all -- Wheatland. 

Remus

Wheatland Music Festival Remus Northern Michigan plays host to all your folk/roots/bluegrass desires throughout the summer months. There’s absolutely no shortage of twang and harmonizing, no matter where you turn. Basic idea: you can’t swing a banjo north of Lansing in the summer without hitting some white people with stringed instruments. But there’s one festival that has stood the test of time, the grandpappy of them all -- Wheatland. 

Date

Event

Location

Sep 18 Fri

Earthwork Harvest Gathering OK -- one more folksy festival for the road. You do realize most of Michigan is rural, right? And rural folks love the folk. For the ultimate experience, hit this mostly underground, community-centered, organic, and extremely hippie music festival. Held each year since 2000 on the Bernard family farm in Missaukee County, Earthwork is an event in the vein of a traditional harvest celebration, where local farmers and musicians from Michigan and beyond wind down their summer touring schedules and come together to dance like a string of Grateful Dead bears among lots of delicious food and drink. 

Lake City

Earthwork Harvest Gathering Lake City OK -- one more folksy festival for the road. You do realize most of Michigan is rural, right? And rural folks love the folk. For the ultimate experience, hit this mostly underground, community-centered, organic, and extremely hippie music festival. Held each year since 2000 on the Bernard family farm in Missaukee County, Earthwork is an event in the vein of a traditional harvest celebration, where local farmers and musicians from Michigan and beyond wind down their summer touring schedules and come together to dance like a string of Grateful Dead bears among lots of delicious food and drink. 

Date

Event

Location

Sep 18 Fri

Grand Haven Salmon Festival A salmon cook-off, fishing contest, wine-tasting, and live jazz (because we all know fishing and jazz go together like Busch beer and corn dogs). Expect lots of rich Chicagoans and people from Grand Rapids wearing those creepy shoes with toes built in. It should be noted, Grand Haven has one of the loveliest shores in the entire state. 

Grand Haven

Grand Haven Salmon Festival Grand Haven A salmon cook-off, fishing contest, wine-tasting, and live jazz (because we all know fishing and jazz go together like Busch beer and corn dogs). Expect lots of rich Chicagoans and people from Grand Rapids wearing those creepy shoes with toes built in. It should be noted, Grand Haven has one of the loveliest shores in the entire state. 

Date

Event

Location

Sep 19 Sat

Hellfest Hearse Show We are making an exception to the multi-day requirement of this list in order to include one of Michigan’s weirdest festivals. Is there a better location for North America’s largest hearse show to take place than in Hell? We think not. Expect costume contests, paranormal experts, custom motorcycles, BBQ, a zombie dance party and maybe even a wedding. 

Hell

Hellfest Hearse Show Hell We are making an exception to the multi-day requirement of this list in order to include one of Michigan’s weirdest festivals. Is there a better location for North America’s largest hearse show to take place than in Hell? We think not. Expect costume contests, paranormal experts, custom motorcycles, BBQ, a zombie dance party and maybe even a wedding. 

Date

Event

Location

Sep 23-Oct 11

ArtPrize Sure, this is getting into fall, but Michigan weather still tends to be reliably nice for this one. The city transforms into a living-art exhibit, featuring work from more than 1,500 artists from all over the world who put their pieces up to be critiqued and voted on by the public. Enjoy the last few weeks of warm weather, and if you get tired of walking, you’re never too far from a brewery in Grand Rapids.  

Grand Rapids

ArtPrize Grand Rapids Sure, this is getting into fall, but Michigan weather still tends to be reliably nice for this one. The city transforms into a living-art exhibit, featuring work from more than 1,500 artists from all over the world who put their pieces up to be critiqued and voted on by the public. Enjoy the last few weeks of warm weather, and if you get tired of walking, you’re never too far from a brewery in Grand Rapids.