Frog Island festival cut to 2 days this year
■ One-year change will allow festival sponsor, The Ark, to also manage move.
By WILL STEWART
NEWS STAFF REPORTER
On the heels of its second most successful run ever, organizers of the Frog Island Festival have decided to scale back Ypsilanti’s summer music event to two days this year.
But the move doesn’t mean the festival is in danger. Instead, organizers say, it will allow the Ark, one of the festival’s sponsors, to move into its new location in Ann Arbor without impacting the music event.
“The move is going to take so much time that there’s no way we could do both things right,” said the Ark’s manager, David Siglin. “I don’t want to do Frog Island and sink the Ark and I don’t want to just do the Ark and sink Frog Island.
“This way we can do both and we’ll be back to three days next year.”
As a result, the festival will be held on June 28 and 29, Siglin said, adding that the program for each day will remain the same. The Friday date will feature music from New Orleans, while Saturday’s lineup will offer jazz during the day and blues at night.
The Friday and Saturday programs are traditionally the most popular of the festival, Siglin said.
In July, the Ark plans to move from its current location at 637 S. Main St. into half of the old Kline’s department store building in downtown Ann Arbor. The move will double the capacity of the venerable folk music club, which has been in its current location for 12 years.
The move to cut back Frog Island this year will not affect its relationship with the Nature Conservancy of Michigan, which last year stepped in as a co-sponsor. That financial backing allowed the festival to book such national acts as Dr. John, Los Lobos and the Staple Singers.
Siglin said he has to iron out a few last-minute details before he can announce this year’s lineup. However, he said, it should be at least as strong as last year’s roster.
After last year’s festival, Siglin proposed the possibility of revamping Sunday’s lineup in order to attract more people that day. He said traditionally small crowds have sometimes meant the difference between the festival turning a profit and winding up in the red.
This year’s experimental two-day lineup should avert such dangers, he said.
News of the festival’s downsizing came as no surprise to Sandee French, co-owner of Cady’s Grill and Aubree’s bar in Depot Town, near where the festival is held.
But news of the reduction failed to diminish her eni thusiasm for the event.
“It is an extremely positive event for Depot Town,'” she said. “I’m sony that it’s just going to be two days; just because Sunday has always been enjoyable.
“But losing that one day won’t make me feel negative toward it.”