Strolling music festival to liven up Civic Center Park

Book fair, native plant sale part of Oct. 3 festivities

By: Andy Kozlowski | Madison - Park News | Published September 18, 2020

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MADISON HEIGHTS — It’s a chance to exercise outdoors and discover new local music.

Trail Tunes 2020, a strolling music festival where you can follow the park loop and see music acts along the way, will take place from 4 to 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 3 at Civic Center Park. The park is located behind Madison Heights City Hall, on 13 Mile Road, just west of John R Road. The event is organized by the Madison Heights Arts Board. This is the festival’s first year.

Facial masks are required while visiting each performance area, and signage will be in place to mark appropriate spacing between people. The format of the event lends itself to social distancing: the trail is one mile long with a hill in the middle, and the musical acts are set up along the trail with abundant spacing in between. There will be 14 music acts headlining the event, with more possibly appearing in a separate area.  

“We had so many great submissions that we may add non-featured musicians to a specific area of the park,” said Madison Heights City Councilman Mark Bliss, who is co-chairing the event. “You can stay as long as you want listening to each artist. Spend the whole time with the one or two you love, or spend the event walking from musician to musician. Most will probably take the loop and then go back to their favorites.

“With the diversity in genres, there’s something for everyone, from classical to metal and everything in between. I’m so proud of our planning committee for this event. Despite this being the first event like this in our city, we were able to assemble a roster of more than a dozen incredible musicians, across multiple genres. All of the musicians are excited to perform, and every resident I’ve talked to about this event are excited to attend.”

Among the groups performing are the Gwenyth Hayes Trio, Leisure Machine, David Simon & the Latin Bohemia Band, Grooving Violation Band, ABI, Colin and the Cougars, Theandric, Paul Parente Jazz Connection, Adam Robert, Brian Ivan, Bill Russell, Micah Cooper, Kelly Miller, Plethora and more.

“We’re happy to be a part of this event, as it will get us out of the house and back playing again after a months-long hiatus!” said Daniel Dobrovich of the band Leisure Machine, via email. “We’ve had a brotherhood through playing music nonstop for years. This hiatus has been strange, at best. This festival is the jumpstart we need to get us back to doing what we love.”

The event will also coincide with a pop-up book fair by the Friends of the Madison Heights Public Library, and a native plant sale by the Madison Heights Environmental Citizens Committee.

Vita Palazzolo, with the Madison Heights Arts Board, is the other event co-chair. She said that music is very meaningful to her.  

“I grew up in a house full of music. My mom sang with the Michigan Opera Theater and my dad was a huge big band fan. Growing up in the ‘70s, we listened to everything from Pagliacci to Led Zeppelin,” she said. “My uncle played congas and gave me my first set of bongos when I was 5 years old. I played drums all through high school and in church too. Today I’m still playing music, but as a percussionist with a number of hand drums still at church and around town at open mic nights.

“Music has always been a special part of my life and has brought me through the most devastating time of my life when I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2010. The healing power of music kept me grounded in my faith, and helped me stay positive, especially in the first year of my diagnosis. Whether I was performing or listening to live music, it soothed my soul, and still does as I continue to battle this disease.”

Bliss said that he hopes this event will be the start of more to come.

“Completely centered around the music, this event will hopefully remind us all how important live music is, and inspire simpler socially distanced events elsewhere,” Bliss said. “Music heals, it inspires, and it brings people together. Especially in a time like this, our city and residents need this.

“I’m thrilled to be a part of putting this event together for our community, and I’m thankful for all of the amazing musicians who sent in submissions wanting to be a part of our event. In addition to our featured artists, we’ll be trying to make as many of these incredible performers a part of our event as possible.”

Palazzolo said she’s eager for people to come experience the festival.

“I’m so very excited that we are able to hold this event, especially right now when people need something to uplift them and stay positive about,” she said. “We’re even planning to have a dance floor on the basketball court where people can let go and express themselves through movement. I can’t wait for everyone to enjoy so many different genres of music while still social distancing. … The Detroit metro area has some of the most amazing and talented artists anywhere, and to be able to share them with the community is so exciting!”

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