From the age of birth to about 10, I thought that the only music that existed was country and 80s. Growing up, my parents thought it would be better for my siblings and I if we listened to country music, screening the songs we sang and listened to "protect us" from inappropriate things or lines that may have played on the radio.
So when I got to middle school, you can imagine how surprised I was to find out otherwise. A boy on a class field trip shared his headphone with me and wasn't listening to Journey, but instead head-nodding Green Day, La Dispute, and The Wonder Years. From that point forward, I swore off the country music I had been brainwashed and conditioned to listen to, and began expanding my music taste.
In high school, I found myself hanging out with different, unique individuals who only showed me more punk artists to fall in love with. They were constantly going to shows and I couldn't help but be jealous. One festival, in particular, I'd wanted to attend for years was BLED Fest.
For one day a year, the old Hartland High School (now known as Hartland Performing Arts Center), in Howell, Michigan is transformed into a festival ground for BLED FEST, presented by Fusion Shows. BLED FEST, for short for “Big Love’s EDucational Festival", has hosted a number of different acts throughout the years, among these include: The Wonder Years, Modern Baseball, Title Fight, and La Dispute.
There are no barricades and stages can be seen propped up in different spots throughout the building from a classroom to the gymnasium. Big Love, the nickname given to Ben who started this fest in his parent’s basement 13 years ago, has described the festival as "a one-day, punk-rock summer camp."
Well, it only took half a decade, but this year I finally attended my first, and let me tell you, it was the "punk-rock summer camp" of my dreams. Not only was I able to listen to some of my favorite performers live, shoot photographs freely, and hang out with friends, I also had the opportunity to expand and network within the community.
This year, BLED made a statement on their website pledging more diversity, "...listening habits of youth in 2018 are so diverse, yet a lot of these kids live in an area that is one of the least diverse places on earth. We’re really pushing to put together a special lineup that speaks to everyone, is welcoming of everyone, and is valued by everyone."
Below is a list of bands that played BLED FEST on March 26th of 2018, so settle in and wrap your ears around these talented performers.
1. Shortly (Detroit, MI)
Favorite Track: Spare Time
2. Jetty Bones (Urbana, OH)
Favorite Track: Innocent Party
3. Mover Shaker (Detroit, MI)
Favorite Track: No Backyard
4. Formerly Bodies (Lansing, MI)
Favorite Track: Comfy Cozy Song
5. Dogleg (Ann Arbor, MI)
Favorite Track: Remember Alderaan?
Missed them at BLED?
For a full photo gallery, you can click here.
For more information regarding this unique music festival, check out the BLED FEST website here.