Trail Tunes returns to Civic Center Park this August

By: Andy Kozlowski | Madison - Park News | Published July 28, 2021

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MADISON HEIGHTS — Musicians will soon line the trail loop at Civic Center Park, in what will be Madison Heights’ second annual Trail Tunes.

The strolling music festival made its debut last fall as a safe outdoor event where everyone observed social distancing while touring a variety of music acts across the park, which is located behind Madison Heights City Hall at 300 W. 13 Mile Road.  

This year’s event will be from 4 to 9 p.m. Aug. 7. The park loop is 1 mile long and will feature a diverse array of genres, including jazz, funk, rock, metal, hip-hop and more.

Featured musicians include Colin & The Cougars, Leisure Machine, Zosette & The Groove, Armani Monté, The Indigo Curve, Gwenyth Hayes, Love and Unity Entertainment, Fresh 2 Death, Keynote Sisters, Liz & The Luckouts, ABI, Visitor, After Blue, the Kate Hinote Trio, Lunar Sessions, Paul Parente Jazz Connection, Robyn, Easy Beach, the Capital Street Basement Musicians and the Scott Wrona Quartet. There will also be an “open mic” zone highlighting additional local musicians.

Admission is free and open to everyone of all ages. Tipping the musicians or buying their merchandise is encouraged. Attendees are also encouraged to bring nonperishable food items to donate to the city’s food pantry.

There won’t be chairs, but attendees are welcome to bring their own chairs or picnic blankets if they wish to sit down and enjoy the music. And while music is the main focus, there will be other points of interest as well, such as vendors and activities throughout the park, and concessions from food trucks such as The Grilled Wrap, Salt & Sugar Co, E&L’s Tacos, and Ash Kickin’ BBQ, as well as dessert trucks like Motor City Sweet Treats, Fun Food Express, and Happy Camper Cupcakes.

Madison Heights Mayor Roslyn Grafstein said it was sad but understandable how many events had to be canceled last year due to COVID, including the city’s Memorial Day Parade and the Pre-Fourth of July Festival in the Park. But Trail Tunes proved there were still ways to have fun.

“(Trail Tunes) was developed to safely take place during the pandemic. The Arts Board has continued to design the program in such a way that even if the restrictions had not been lifted, the event could still be held,” Grafstein said in an email.  

“My husband and I spent most of that afternoon (last year) wandering around listening to different music, catching up with people we hadn’t seen in months. For me, it wasn’t just the music — it was the sense of community I felt. Most people were masked and keeping a bit of distance between them; children were running around laughing and playing, while adults chatted and took it all in. It was nice to have so many from our community safely enjoying the music and the camaraderie.”

With $2,000 in funding coming solely from private donations, she said there was “no question” whether co-chairs Vita Palazzolo and Madison Heights City Councilman Mark Bliss would decide to co-host a second Trail Tunes this year.

Other members of the planning committee include Steve Dombroski, Jason Theodoroff and Amber Platzke, chair of the Arts Board. Jenni Wright and Martha Covert provided additional help.

Event sponsors include Grafstein and Bliss, along with resident Sean Fleming, and businesses such as Sherman & Sherman, Golling Kia and Cochran Supply, Puff and Liberty Cannabis, Giffels Webster, Interstate Auto Care, Century 21 Campbell Realty, Modern Skate, Mia’s Tasty Grill, Amoris Market and Correct Car Care.

Last year’s event was such a success that it was one of the top 25 statewide nominees for this year’s Community Excellence Award through the Michigan Municipal League.

“Our city continues to lead by example, and it’s great to get recognition for that,” Bliss said in an email. “I am so thankful to all the volunteers, donors and attendees that made last year’s festival so great, and I’m excited for everyone to see this year’s event.

“I think last year we filled a need for the public, and I’m proud that we were able to put a bit of normal into the ‘new normal,’ he added. “This year we’re stoked to be able to add more bands and entertainment to the festival. I’m in awe of how many incredibly talented musicians will be performing in Civic Center Park. I think it’s going to be exactly what we need to kick off what post-pandemic life can look like in Madison Heights.”

Madison Heights City Councilman Robert Corbett praised the event as a success.

“The Trail Tunes project hits all the major buttons for the city. It provides our residents with quality, diverse entertainment at little to no cost. And the best part is that we were able to present this entertainment in a way that is socially responsible, incorporating suggested distances and lower audience density for the individual artist,” Corbett said in an email.

“And really, the cool part is it’s only a five-minute ride from virtually anywhere in the city,” Corbett said. “You don’t have to travel far to enjoy this.”