THURSDAY, July 29 — The deep freeze on Mid-Michigan’s rich folk music scene that was forced to go mostly dormant throughout the pandemic in 2020 is finally coming to an end.
And after a mostly virtual-only year, the Ten Pound Fiddle concert series is back in the saddle for the 2021-22 season with a fully loaded schedule of 34 live shows beginning in September.
Ten Pound Fiddle will update its calendar of events on Sunday, Aug. 1 and officially kick off its 47th season on Sept. 17 with a concert headlined by Old Blind Dogs, a traditional Celtic folk group traveling all the way from its native Scotland to perform at several venues in Michigan.
“The Old Blind Dogs are a catch. They’ll be featured at a big Irish night in Muskegon that Saturday. You need an anchor gig to get them across the pond, and we were able to get them on Friday. That was sort of a coup for Ten Pound Fiddle,” said concert organizer Sally Potter.
While the upcoming season includes familiar hallmarks, including February’s Mid-Winter Singing Festival and returning Fiddle favorites like the Sweet Water Warblers, there’s a major change-up with the main venue. This year, the shows are moving from their home at the Michigan State University Community Music School to East Lansing’s University United Methodist Church, 1120 S. Harrison Road.
The move has deep roots in Ten Pound Fiddle’s long history, as the church previously hosted shows for the concert series back in the ’80s and ’90s. Potter said the church should prove to be a great space for the upcoming shows. The old standard ticket prices, $20 for general admission, $18 for Fiddle members, $5 for college students and $2 for children, will also remain in place.
“We can have intimate shows in the Copper Chimney Lounge. We can have shows that involve food and partying in the Asbury Hall and we can have huge shows in the sanctuary, which is a lovely room with new pews. It’s a wonderful concert hall,” Potter explained.
Potter said it has been an otherworldly hectic year to work in the live music industry, as frequent changes and updates to pandemic safety guidelines repeatedly threw a wrench into artists’ and promoters’ attempts to schedule out of town gigs and book tours in the Greater Lansing region.
“You talk to agents all year, and nobody wants to commit. You end up putting in so much time for something that you’re not sure is even going to happen. It’s still rusty. It still kind of starts and stops, but there are 34 acts that want to give it a go. They’re our season this year,” Potter said.
Ticket sales and a full schedule of events goes live on TenPoundFiddle.org starting Aug. 1.