Now’s the time to start solidifying summer plans—and if you’re a music fan, you’ll want to be sure that Dunegrass gets written in on your calendar.

The annual summer music festival, held July 31 through August 3 just steps from Lake Michigan in Empire, has been a longtime favorite for its family-friendly atmosphere, feel-good vibe and ability to draw great music acts from around the country. This year’s line-up, which has grown almost weekly since the initial artist announcement, features a little of everything, including folk icon Arlo Guthrie, veteran jam bands like Particle and moe., and mandolin virtuoso Chris Thile (formerly of Nickel Creek) with his new "chambergrass" quintet, Punch Brothers.

Highlights include low-impact camping in a nearby preserve; local food vendors like Higher Grounds coffee and Moomers ice cream; a kids tent with craft projects and parades; a side stage to showcase well-loved regional bands like Breathe Owl Breathe and Steppin’ In It; and, of course, all the beaching, sunning and swimming you can handle.

For news, artist additions and tickets, visit; tickets will also be available starting June 1 at more than a dozen merchants around the North.

Photo(s) by Robert Fischer,