COMMERCIAL-NEWS | ROBERT TOMLINSON - Detroit-based blues singer Thornetta Davis performs during the 27th HarmonyFest music festival in Three Rivers Sunday night.COMMERCIAL-NEWS | ROBERT TOMLINSON - A group of people dance to one of the songs performed by Caribbean music band Zion Lion at HarmonyFest Sunday night.COMMERCIAL-NEWS | ROBERT TOMLINSON - Five-year-old Adriana Gordillo of Sturgis (right) gets her face painted by Kim Talbot (left) at the Three Rivers Public Library’s HarmonyFest Kids Zone booth Sunday.

Energetic crowd brings 2021 HarmonyFest success

THREE RIVERS — Visitors to downtown Three Rivers were dancing, singing and overall having a good time Sunday at the 27th HarmonyFest music festival.

A variety of performers from different genres and backgrounds performed at the festival to a crowd that was very energetic from the moment it began at 1 p.m. The event was headlined by Detroit blues singer Thornetta Davis, who rocked the Main Street stage as the last act of the night. Other performances throughout the day included Americana/country singer Shane Lung, the Riverside Church Band, rockabilly band Lana and the Tonics, rock/funk/bluegrass band Here Nor There, Americana band The Tumbleweed Jumpers and Caribbean music band Zion Lion.

Sunday’s event was the first HarmonyFest since 2019 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and organizers said it was great to see people out and about again.

“It feels great, it's just a relief. We were really working hard on all of this, and when you get good music and people around here, it's a good release at least for me,” organizer Charlie Wolgamood said.

Other artists who performed throughout the day said the crowd gave off a lot of energy that helped with their performances during the festival.

“It's nice to be around a lot of people, and they were excited,” Dustin Peckinpaugh from the Riverside Church Band said. “It's cool to play Bruce Springsteen then a worship song and have people participate in both.”

“Everybody was just really getting into it, they were singing along, they were feeling it, it was just awesome,” Sister Myra Atkinson from Zion Lion said.

Wolgamood also gave kudos to the crowd and the performers for creating a fun atmosphere throughout the day.

“There was a really good vibe out there. I'm always a big proponent of energy. You can get energy from art and music and all that. We had a good, nice, crowd. Just a nice mix of people too. Old, young, different sides of the tracks, that's what I wanted,” Wolgamood said.

“Everyone we had today put something into it, played off the crowd, and that's the good thing with live music, a big give and take, I think. When you get that live interaction, that's great.”

In addition to the music, a Kids Zone was set up on the far end of the street, with a variety of activities for the little ones including face painting, crafts, a story time session with Three Rivers Public Library Children’s Librarian Peter Butts, and temporary tattoos courtesy of Portfolio Ink.

Wolgamood said the weather, sunny with warm temperatures throughout the day, as well as the fact it was the first in two years, helped bring people out to the festival.

“With the weather and stuff, I thought we would have a good crowd,” Wolgamood said. “With not having it last year, and I know we're not over COVID, but people want to get out. They wanted to come out and see this today.”

Wolgamood said fundraising during the event, which included donations and a raffle for a Traeger grill, brought in a good amount of money, with the exact total to be calculated over the next few days.

“We at least like to pay for events, but knock on wood, we're paying for it and will have a little extra to pay for other things,” Wolgamood said. “Anything we take in we can use toward other events.”

Overall, Wolgamood said the festival was a good time and could not wait until next year’s festivities.

“It was just a good day, and a good day for downtown,” Wolgamood said. “The same reason people rev their engines downtown and hear it off the buildings is the same reason the music sounds good here. When it gets dark and lights on and the bass thumps, there's nothing better.”

Robert Tomlinson can be reached at 279-7488 ext. 23 or robert@threeriversnews.com.

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