Written By Jessica McNinch
Photo By Nate Michayluk
Arriving at Freedom Hill Amphitheater for the Mo Pop festival, I was immediately pleased that our rainy Michigan summer seemed to be granting us a welcome reprieve. Attending outdoor festivals during the summer literally helps some of us get through the long winters. This festival had so many great bands on the bill, with Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeroes headlining that evening, I could not help but feel excited to be spending the day outdoors with great people and great music.
American Authors played a full set of toe tapping tunes, the crowd was thrilled to participate in the general happy and grateful vibe of the band. They repeatedly commented on how glad they were to be playing for Michigan fans, thanking everyone for showing up early in the day to catch their set. The dancing continued form there and very seriously never let up. After watching fans flood the isles to get to the party that Capital Cities was happy to provide a soundtrack for, we wandered the festival grounds checking out the cleverly titled Mo Biergarten, Mo Food Truck Rally Ally, and Mo Artist Village. The venue also boasted a large VIP tent and the Mo Sideshow stage with burlesque acts, comedy sketches, hula hoop artists, fire eaters and contortionists to name a few.
As the day went on, I was struck at how much fun everyone was having. Local favorites Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. and Jamaican Queens drew large crowds who were not shy about singing along and dancing to favorite songs. There seemed to be none of the typical stand and stare with bored hipster expressions. People where here to have fun and it was refreshing. There was a little bit of something for everyone here ranging from Manchester Orchestra to Andrew Bird, Old Crowe Medicine Show, and The Mowgli’s. The icing on the cake, of course, was Edward Sharpe and his incredibly talented band. It is impossible not to fall in love with their infectious, positive energy. The chemistry between front man Alex Ebert and vocalist Jade Castrinos is adorable. Once I heard my favorite “I Don’t Wanna Pray,” the evening had officially been made. Any day spent outside listening to live music is just plain good for the soul and this festival was no exception.