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On August 17, visitors to Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore (National Lakeshore) can listen to eclectic bluegrass artist Mark Lavengood from 8:00 to 9:00 p.m. at the D. H. Day Campground amphitheater. The concert is part of the free Find Your Park Concert Series in celebration of the National Park Service (NPS) Centennial. Members of the Quest music program, led by Earthwork Music founder Seth Bernard, will be opening the show. Because of limited parking at D. H. Day Campground, visitors who are not camping will be asked to park in Glen Haven and hike or bike to the D. H. Day Campground amphitheater via the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail.
The show’s openers are members of Earthwork Music’s Quest program, along with the program’s founder, Seth Bernard. Earthwork Music is a collective of independent artists who mentor local young people in the American Roots musical tradition. In 2016, they partnered with the Traverse City nonprofit SEEDS to launch a program called Quest.
The Quest program encourages students from local communities to celebrate the NPS Centennial by crafting songs inspired by wildlife, park experiences, and natural features.
The show’s primary performer will be American Roots singer/songwriter and Dobro (resonator guitar) player Mark Lavengood. He has based his musical techniques on the styles of bluegrass contemporaries Rob Ikes, Joe Wilson, and Jerry Douglas.
A Grand Rapids native, Lavengood was raised in a family who loved music. He taught himself to play the drums in sixth grade, and later began to experiment with ukulele, conga drums and the Dobro (among other instruments). After graduating from Alma College, this versatile artist played with Michigan “folkgrass rebels.” His unique roots stylings are difficult to describe, but impossible to forget.
All concerts are free with a park pass. Passes may be purchased at the Phillip A. Hart Visitor Center in Empire, Michigan, and cost $15 (per vehicle) for seven days, or $30 for an annual pass.