Okay, so they’re not really "secret" — but these summer-only concert series, hidden away in forests and on farmland, will make you feel like you’ve stumbled upon a private show.
Summer Sounds: Michigan Legacy Art Park, Thompsonville
A moderate hike into this 30-acre art park at Crystal Mountain brings you to a small outdoor hillside amphitheater, where regional artists perform unplugged in a wooden pagoda-type structure. This is the place to be on balmy evenings in July and August; the 2008 line-up includes local notables Song of the Lakes (July 18; folk and world music), Shout Sister Shout (July 25; torch and swing) and Detour (August 1; bluegrass). 231-378-4963, michlegacyartpark.org.
Black Cat: Dhaseleer Events Barn, Charlevoix
The two-year-old Black Cat concert series is intimate and family friendly, with 20-minute set breaks for potluck receptions and plenty of room for little ones to wiggle and dance. The historic barn, in the Dhaseleer family since 1920, is a fitting space for the acoustic styles of this season’s performers, which include bluesy-voiced Jen Sygit with backing band Spare Change (June 22) and East Jordan–based Breathe Owl Breathe (June 26). 231-547-6945, blackcatconcerts.com.
Stone Circle: Stone Circle, Elk Rapids
Eighty-eight boulders arranged in concentric rings around a campfire sets the stage for eclectic summer-night gatherings of storytelling, sing-a-longs, poetry readings and more. Host, founder and poet-bard Terry Wooten, oversees the entertainment, which happens every Friday through August. The ’08 season kicked off on the solstice (June 21) with a special 25th-anniversary celebration. 231-264-9467, terry-wooten.com.—E.B.