Radiohead to Headline Water Hill Music Festival

Overly serious, white, mostly male music lovers in Southeast Michigan received exciting news today when Ann Arbor’s Water Hill Music Festival announced that alternative musical group Radiohead would be headlining this year’s festival. The festival debuted in 2012 and has traditionally been a grass roots and decidedly non-commercial event featuring Water Hill residents playing and singing on their front porches and in their yards.  Now the festival has reached a turning point as it seeks to grow beyond its humble beginnings.

“I’m sure people will say we’ve sold out, that we’re just raking in a bunch of cash for our own selfish purposes, that this has become all about the almighty dollar,” said longtime Water Hill resident and festival founder Jim Robertson, with apparently nothing more to add.

Food and beverages have never before been offered at the festival, but that too is changing. Concessions will be handled by Killan, the same group that manages concessions for other major events and venues in Southeast Michigan. Accordingly, a large Budweiser or Heineken will be $27.50. A small plastic cup of wine will be $29.50, and a sad water-logged greyish hotdog will be $18.50, though a more appetizing version can be had for $5 more.

“We want to accommodate different tastes and income levels”, said Robertson.

In addition to gaining big-name acts, the festival is attracting major corporate sponsors, the reason behind its transition to a new name for next year’s event in 2017, “Domino’s Pizza’s ‘Rock the Hill’ Festival.”

“There’s no doubt that Hiscock will be … throbbing with excitement”

As usual, much of the action will take place on Hiscock Street. In fact, Hiscock has been enlarged to make room for the erection of a large stage crafted in the form of a front porch in keeping with the festival’s theme. Given this year’s bigger crowds, some residents are worried that Hiscock might become engorged with spectators creating a massive logjam and resulting in a potentially messy incident. Festival president Blanca Hamilton says the worries are overblown. “There’s no doubt that Hiscock will be absolutely throbbing with excitement,” she said, “but we have a firm grip on [the situation], and will be working it diligently.”

The new direction has certainly proven popular with local music lovers: tickets went on sale earlier today and sold out within a single second according to festival organizers. It is less popular with the Water Hill residents, who’ve previously been the only stars of the show.

One controversial aspect of this year’s festival is that some ticket holders will have access to local homes. Residents near the main stage will be required to vacate their homes during the event so that the festival’s “Platinum Porch Supporters” will have a place to stay and enjoy the show. Some of these residents are crying foul, but are fighting against a little known aspect of eminent domain that allows cities, neighborhood leaders, and alpha males to take temporary possession of homes when they determine it is in the economic and cultural interests of the community.

Robertson dismisses the critics as jealous for attention: “It’s sour grapes. These folks are just upset because they’re not the center of attention anymore. Now they’ve got some real competition. If they really want to be the stars again, they should stop whining and start practicing.”

Editor’s note: 

“All joking aside, the Water Hill Music Festival is a truly great event and one which the Sentinel endorses wholeheartedly. 2016’s event took place on Sunday, May 1st from 2pm – 6pm. See for more info.”

Festifools Adopts ‘Bad Trip’ Theme, Cautions Parents: ‘Leave the Kids at Home’


Festifools, the annual Ann Arbor event that celebrates foolishness and whimsey, will take a dark turn for its 10th anniversary coming up in April. Festival organizers are adopting a nightmarish “bad trip” theme for an event already known for its psychedelic and bizarre imagery. Parade Coordinator Roland Fowler says the darker motif is meant, in part, to appeal to those dealing with traumatic unresolved episodes of drug experimentation.

“Many of us have experimented with psychedelics in our youth and experienced the panic of nightmarish hallucinations and delusions, wondering when it would end and realizing we were only three hours into what would probably be a seven or eight hour trip,” said Fowler, “This may provide some catharsis or maybe even some nostalgia.  Others may want to experience it for the first time. We feel like this is a great way to mix it up and create some lasting, disturbing memories.”

…counselors will be on hand to assist any children or adults who may feel overwhelmed by the display

While the traditional puppets and floats will portray a wide array of horrific scenes, major sub-themes will include disease, decay, grisly injuries, parasites, deformities, and the inevitability of death. Traditionally a family event, organizers have urged parents not to bring anyone under the age of 16, however a number of counselors will be on hand to assist any children or adults who feel overwhelmed by the display. In addition, Fowler said a troop of angry, demented clowns will aggressively patrol the event, ensuring that spectators show adequate appreciation for the parade and that no one leaves before the fun is over.

“Everyone’s excited about this year’s event, and about making a lasting impression that you won’t be able to forget even if you want to,” Fowler said, “Maybe next year we’ll swing back toward a brighter, funnier brand of whimsy but this year’s show is going to leave a mental mark.”