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DIY Fest lives up to its name this year

Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

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There will be a DIY Street Fair in Ferndale this year -- the seventh consecutive, in fact.

But producer Chris Johnston acknowledges that "it feels like a different DIY than we've ever done before."

Circumstances are the reason for that. Until late July the free festival -- which brings together music, art, artisans and food -- was going to skip a year due to construction on Nine Mile Road that was slated to start after last month's Woodward Dream Cruise and would impact access to DIY. But when it became evident the road project would be delayed, Johnston and his partners, including wife Krista and Brian Reedy, decided to go for it with three months' less planning.

"When it was first announced the construction wasn't going to go forward we thought, 'It's too late,' " says Johnston, who operates Woodward Avenue Brewers, the Emory and the Loving Touch in Ferndale. But after a successful Pig & Whiskey event in July on the same site at Woodward Avenue and East Troy Street "and the millionth person telling us how badly they wanted us to put the (DIY) on, that they didn't care what size it was, or even where it was, we realized that there really wasn't too much stopping us."

In about six weeks, Johnston and company have cobbled together a DIY that certainly compares favorably to its predecessors. There was no time to get sponsors or large scale national bands, but a main stage will host 23 music performances during the weekend -- including local heavyweights Deastro, the Hard Lessons, Jamaican Queens, Passalacqua, Billy Brandt and more -- while the Loving Touch will also host a performances on Friday and Sunday.

Some 114 artists will display their wares, while seven popular food vendors will feed DIYers over the three days.

"It's been a process unlike any of the other years, but the rapid fire decisions we have made have been for the most part invigorating," Johnston says. "We put up a post through our website and social media to find bands available and interested in performing. The response was record breaking for us."

The DIY time will theoretically have more time to prepare for next year's festival, but Johnston says this year's even more pronounced local flavor has a special kind of feel.

"We've had it in our minds that this year DIY really feels like a celebration, and a triumph," he explains. "DIY has grown to be the final celebration of summer for many, a chance to be outside, see great bands, great art, and enjoy each others company before a thermometer makes us all a little less casual and carefree about being outside for hours on end.

"So the idea of bringing it all home just made sense and felt good."

DIY Street Fair

Friday-Sunday, Sept. 12-15

Woodward Avenue and East Troy Street, Ferndale

Admission is free

For schedules and more information, visit www.ferndalediy.com

Web Site: www.ferndalediy.com

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff


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