A PLACE FOR DRUM, DANCE AND ACOUSTIC PERFORMANCE
Photos by Keith Reed
The North American Rhythmaculture is alive and well. It has been part of our artistic landscape since the Native Americans ran the show, and even through colonization (definitely dipped there) and the slave trade, to the blues and jazz. Rock and roll, hip hop and whatever it is that my daughter listens to now are all forms of drum and dance – the messenger (and message) might be transforming, but the beat has always been there. I mean, really – the banjo is a drum. The “blue notes” are totally West African. And here we are, a nearly 40 year tradition of music and dance in the great state of Michigan. Our people are funky…..some of us dig the fiddle, and some of us dig the drum. A lot of us dig it all.
The site will serve as an alternative venue for main stage performers to offer an intimate acoustic performance in the forest, as well as a venue for drum classes. Combining a workshop space with a stage for music and dance performance allows WMO to greatly expand its lineup of facilities in one gesture. As well, the proposed venue will be an official place to support and foster a positive environment for drum classes and open drum jams. WMO feels that an official venue for the purpose of drumming will nurture and encourage a healthy Wheatland drum milieu. This mixed-use space will be a pleasant counterpoint in the forest to the festival’s other stages, and give the Rhythmaculture in Michigan a flagship home.
Consistent with Wheatland’s Mission to promote traditional music, a new performance venue is being proposed to showcase the earliest known musical instrument of human civilization: the drum. The drum has been used by every culture throughout history as a means to communicate, celebrate and express one’s-self.
This Performance Venue is designed as a facility to host drum classes, music and dance performances of many types, drum circles and other classes as well as being a welcoming feature of Wheatland landscape. The structure will feature a sloped covered stage designed to naturally project acoustic music – the intent being that most performances in this venue will not need extra amplification.
This venue will provide seating for approximately 150 people, with standing room for 70 or more. Also, there will be a forest floor area that could be populated by blankets or lawn chairs.