Restaurant fundraiser will support this year’s Trail Tunes

By: Andy Kozlowski | Madison-Park News | Published September 21, 2022

 Colin & The Cougars were among the bands who performed at Trail Tunes during its inaugural year in October 2020.

Colin & The Cougars were among the bands who performed at Trail Tunes during its inaugural year in October 2020.

File photo by Deb Jacques


MADISON HEIGHTS — The city of Madison Heights is gearing up for this year’s Trail Tunes, where musicians perform on the trail loop at Civic Center Park. It’s a tradition that began in 2020 as a socially distanced way to have fun during the pandemic, and it has continued every year since.

This year’s Trail Tunes will take place from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 2. The venue will once again be Civic Center Park, located at 360 W. 13 Mile Road in Madison Heights.

Prior to the festival, there will be a fundraiser at Mia’s Tasty Grill at 26085 John R Road in Madison Heights, from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 23. The fundraiser, called “Off The Trail,” will see 20% of all proceeds donated to Trail Tunes.

The event is organized by the Madison Heights Arts Board, and takes place on the cusp of its five-year anniversary. There will also be silent auctions.

As for Trail Tunes itself, attendees can expect an experience similar to previous years, according to Mark Bliss, a member of the Madison Heights City Council who spearheaded both the festival and the Arts Board behind it.

“As has been the case since the beginning, Trail Tunes is a raw and incredibly authentic festival that brings the music right to you, with bands playing on basketball courts, baseball diamonds and park pavilions — providing their audience with an up close and personal concert experience that you can’t get anywhere else,” Bliss said via email.

“That’s what the planning committee and I love most about it: the accessibility. There’s also a ton of choice, with a handful of local musicians across multiple genres playing at any given time,” Bliss said. “And with the majority of our featured musicians from years past joining us again this year, returning attendees will be able to find their old favorites back on the trail again.”

As always, the event is free to attend, but guests are encouraged to help support musicians by tipping them or buying their merchandise. The Arts Board will also have a tent where donations can be made. In addition, there will be several food trucks, but limited seating, so it’s recommended to bring some chairs or a blanket to sit down and enjoy the show.

Bliss praised the hard work of the Arts Board, including Vita Palazzolo, who co-chairs the event with Bliss. He described her and other members — such as the Arts Board Chair Steve Dombroski, the Arts Board Vice Chair Michael Covert, and Arts Board member Jason Theodoroff — as “some of the most passionate music lovers” he has ever met.

“Together, we’ve worked hard to both fundraise all of the money needed to put on the festival, as well as plan it and recruit the musicians who make this festival amazing. It’s a labor of love, and one that I hope we get to keep going,” Bliss said. “We’re back in the fall again, like our inaugural year, and we’re trying out Sunday afternoon this year to hopefully grow attendance even more.”

Roslyn Grafstein, the mayor of Madison Heights, said that the festival has proven to have enduring popularity in Madison Heights.

“The idea for Trail Tunes came about long before COVID and the ensuing restrictions, but its core design meant it was one of very few events that was held in 2020. This event has not only been well received by our community, but interest has been shown from other cities looking to set up something similar,” Grafstein said via email. “The Arts Board continues to finance Trail Tunes with fundraiser and sponsorship opportunities, thus providing our community with free fun for all ages. I look forward to once again hearing the bands and soaking in the ambiance of Trail Tunes.”

Bliss said he’s happy to see how the festival brings community members together.

“Music inspires, but live music often has inherent barriers that prevent people from experiencing it. This festival was created in the heart of the COVID-19 pandemic, in a time where more and more barriers were popping up, and it was our way of bringing the music right to the people — no stages, no gimmicks, and most importantly, no cost to attend,” Bliss said. “Just great local musicians, and music lovers of all ages and genres coming together to enjoy some great live music.”