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Ann Arbor neighborhood opens up its lawns, porches for new music festival

Erin and Eric will perform with their band Lake Folk on Sunday at 4 p.m. as part of the first ever "Water Hill Music Festival"
Jennifer Guerra
Michigan Radio
Erin and Eric will perform with their band Lake Folk on Sunday at 4 p.m. as part of the first ever "Water Hill Music Festival"

An Ann Arbor neighborhood will host a one-of-a-kind "front porch" music festival this weekend.

On Sunday, May 1 from 2 p.m. - 6 p.m., musicians who live in the city's Water Hill district will sit out on their front porch or lawn, and put on a show. It's called the Water Hill Music Fest, and more than 50 house in the neighborhood will participate.

The newspaper "Groundcover" talked to the festival's founder, Paul Tinkerhess:

"As a musician I've come to know other musicians who live in the neighborhood and as a walker I've spent many pleasant hours walking Water Hill up, down, and sideways," said Tinkerhess, organizer of the Water Hill Music Fest. Knowing that life is short and good ideas sometimes drift away on the stream of daily living, Tinkerhess decided that May Day of this year was the perfect day to host a music festival.

The festival's music will run the gamut from classical to jazz to folk. Eric Anderson plays banjo and mandolin for the band Lake Folk. We caught up with him on his porch on the corner of Summit and Spring Streets, and he says he’s excited to play at the festival:

"We’ve played at some farms in the area, or in some old cabins on farms, but never like outside open for the neighborhood. I think it’ll open up to meeting new people…I think it’ll be community-building."

Anderson's band mate, singer Erin Shellman, says they'll be grilling BBQ and pulled pork, so "if anyone wants to stop by and throw something on [the grill], I think it’ll be going on all day." And, if you'd like, they say "bring an instrument!"

Lake Folk plays from 4 - 5 p.m. More than 160 musicians are expected to perform at the festival, and all performances are free.

Jennifer is a reporter for Michigan Radio's State of Opportunity project, which looks at kids from low-income families and what it takes to get them ahead. She previously covered arts and culture for the station, and was one of the lead reporters on the award-winning education series Rebuilding Detroit Schools. Prior to working at Michigan Radio, Jennifer lived in New York where she was a producer at WFUV, an NPR station in the Bronx.
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