Music festival supports Shelby Township-based Daisy Project

By: Kara Szymanski | Shelby-Utica News | Published September 20, 2023

 The Daisy Project-MI held its annual LO Palooza music festival Sept.16. A past festival is seen here.

The Daisy Project-MI held its annual LO Palooza music festival Sept.16. A past festival is seen here.

Photo provided by Lee Smith Media Productions


SHELBY TOWNSHIP — The Daisy Project–MI hosted its ninth annual LO Palooza, a music festival that combines music and philanthropy, Sept. 16 at Wildwood Amphitheater, 2700 Joslyn Court in Orion Township.

Organizers said LO Palooza would deliver an unforgettable experience for attendees while raising awareness and funds for The Daisy Project’s initiatives.

The Daisy Project-MI, a Shelby Township-based group that focuses on Macomb and Oakland counties, works to make fully accessible recreational spaces in communities. The project is committed to helping families and individuals with special needs, which includes assisting with medical equipment, advocacy and inclusion.

The artists who performed at LO Palooza included The D-MAN Group, One Ton Trolley, Ava Swiss, Melophobix, Florence, Sadie Bass and Sunset Blvd.

The festival also featured activities for kids, local food vendors, a beer tent and the eighth annual LO Palooza Charity Cornhole Tournament.

Jill Bonner, from Clinton Township, said she has identical twin daughters and one of them uses a wheelchair. 

“One of our first trips to a playground was the harshest slap into the reality of what this world would be like for my girls. Imagine being 3 or 4 years old and having a twin sister that can’t play on the playground with you simply because the community you live in didn’t think to include her, or anyone else like her, when they built a gathering place for kids to play,” Bonner said in an email.

She also said to imagine your twin sister who loves to swim not being able to swim with you in the local lakes that Michigan is known for because her wheelchair can’t get to the water. She can’t swim in the community pool either, because there isn’t a Hoyer lift to lift her in and out. 

That’s where the Daisy Project can help.

“This organization is determined to change exclusivity to inclusivity one project at a time for however long it takes and I’m incredibly grateful,” she said.

Kim Urbanowski said she looks forward to LO Palooza more than any other event throughout the year.

“It doesn’t get any better than a day-long music festival, at the most intimate and unique venue in Oakland County, with tons of cool people, food, drinks and local vendors. Except that it does get better, when you know the money you spend at LO Palooza goes towards creating inclusive recreation spaces locally for some incredible people who have special needs. It’s seriously the most memorable event you’ll ever go to in Orion,” she said in an email.

Bill Arnold, from One Ton Trolley, said what the Daisy Project has been able to pull off each year is such a feat and truly remarkable.

“I had the distinct privilege of being both a performer with One Ton Trolley as well as a spectator. The array of artists and the shows they delivered left me speechless. My first time in attendance, despite plans to leave after our early set and return later, I found I couldn’t, and stayed for the whole thing because I didn’t want to miss a note! Every band sounded fantastic!” Arnold said via email. “This event has ran so smoothly from backstage to front, you’d think they do this every day! And all of this for such an incredible cause. This is hands down Lake Orion’s premiere event of the year. We are so proud to be a part of it.”

Shannon Schons, from the Daisy Project-MI, said as a founding member of the Daisy Project-MI, she was inspired by her nephew, Zander, to be an advocate for those with special needs.

“Zander is an amazing bright light with an infectious smile and zest for all things fun in life. Many of us take so many things for granted, and just never have had to deal with the daily obstacles that come into play when you do not have full mobility. Most public and recreational spaces are not designed for those with special needs. We have big goals, and one of those is to make sure communities across Michigan have adult-sized changing tables accessible for public use so that families can travel, attend events, outings, and stay longer,” she said in an email interview.

She said the organizers pour their hearts into planning LO Palooza in order to provide a top-notch event that stands for inclusion and community. All proceeds go directly into making local communities more accessible and inclusive.

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