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Photos by Humberto Porra

They said it would storm. Being meteorologists, pessimists, and party-poopers, they would say such a thing. But the only precipitation on June 12 in Freeland, MI, was the liquid sound pouring from the stage at the FreeMusic Festival; after Maybe August played its final chord, the crowd of families listening left Tittabawassee Township Park drenched, their ears wholly satisfied.

It should be noted that music itself is not a rare thing in Mid-Michigan. No one is ever far from a radio or an iPod, or a family member who whistles the same chorus over and over. Overall, the music scene is alive and well in the Tri-Cities, with bars and coffee houses regularly scheduling local performers to entertain their guests. Many of the bands that took the FreeMusic Fest stage, like Boyne City's Galactic Sherpas or Brett Mitchell and the giant GHOST from Midland, were incredibly playing gigs elsewhere later in the evening. Despite music's prevalence in our neighborhoods, FreeMusic Fest remains a special event.

Perhaps what made it so special was the family atmosphere. Pat's Food Center in Freeland set up the Kids' Korner, where kids could jump around in the bounce house or get their faces painted like a tiger while their parents grooved to the passionate, mellow rock of Kimberly & Co.

It could have been the event's sponsors and organizers. Each time Ben Cohen of Phoenix Productions introduced the next act, listeners could feel his excitement booming through the mic, although it was enough just looking around, to see how much pride both Phoenix Productions and Tim Boychuck of State Farm Insurance had in being part of the event.

Or maybe it was the collection of talent: from Tyler Short of Accoustix to perennial favorites the Bearinger Boys and Maybe August, the performers had the audience clapping their hands and stomping their feet, if they were not all-out, shame-to-the-wind dancing.

Possibly, its specialness had something to do with the money raised and food collected by the charity Frisbee golf tournament for Midland shelter and soup kitchen Open Door, and Shelterhouse, an organization that is committed to eliminating domestic and sexual abuse.

Or maybe it was just the fact that despite the weather reports, the storm warnings, and the naysayers' worst intentions, it was simply a beautiful day, filled with good fun and good music. And I, for one, cannot wait until the next FreeMusic Fest storms through Freeland.

FreeMusic Fest 3 was a production of Phoenix Productions, presented by Tim Boychuck at State Farm Insurance.

© 360 Main Street, 2010