Begun in 1975 and one of the longest-running women's events in the world, the phenomenally popular Michigan Womyn's Music Festival is held in early to mid-August (August 5 to August 10, 2014). As the name suggests, music is the common bond that draws thousands of attendees to a secluded 650-acre private site in the pristine Manistee National Forest. Performances here range from acoustic folk crooners to rocking grrrl bands. In recent years, a wide range of acts performed at the festival, among them Marga Gomez, Sista Otis, Ferron, Bitch, Toshi Reagon, Patty Larkin, Melissa Ferrick, Issa (formerly Jane Siberry), Chix Lix Flix, Poppy Champlin, Drumsong Orchestra with Ubaka Hill, Holly Near, Cris Williamson, Ruth Barrett, Anais Mitchell, Betty, and the Indigo Girls. You'll also have the chance to watch comedy, theater, and other often edgy, provocative performances.
Here as at many such festivals, the opportunity to watch musicians is just part of the fun. The festival hosts dozens of workshops covering a mind-bending wealth of topics - music and art seminars touch on everything from drumsong and salsa dancing to singing in the sacred circle, but you can also sign up for workshops with such diverse themes as breast-casting for womyn of color, teens exploring astrology, Amazon archery, community croning ritual, articulating trauma, and partner yoga and Thai massage. There's also a film festival, organized sports, and a crafts sale representing the wares of some 150 artisans.
The Michigan fest is held outdoors and in tents and runs like a well-oiled machine - participants set up their own tents, volunteer one or two four-hour work shifts (depending on whether they attend the festival for just a couple of days or its entire duration), and are provided three meals (all vegetarian) per day. There's a shuttle and assistance service for attendees with disabilities, and daytime camps for toddlers, boys 5 to 10 years old, and girls 5 and up. The festival's extremely helpful FAQ page for first-timers answers just about every question you could ever have about attending. Check here for ticketing information