Sounds of folk music overtake Traverse City

Charlie Millard (on the keyboard) and his band perform at the Great Indoor Folk Festival.

Guitars were strumming in the Village at Grand Traverse Commons Sunday for the 6th Annual Great Indoor Folk Festival.

Around 100 folk musicians packed the village for the event, giving attendees a true taste of Northern Michigan's folk, bluegrass, and acoustic music scene. Organizers estimate that as many as 1,000 people attend the festival each year.

Stages were spread throughout Building 50, with additional performances at Left Foot Charley winery and open mic at Another Cuppa Joe coffeehouse. Performances included solo stages, duos, full bands, and a kids' music stage.

The festival was free of charge. Musicians performed for free, as well, only making money off of tips and CD sales.

Musicians participating in the event say that it's an exciting opportunity for them.

"I think it's a beautiful thing," said Charlie Millard, who came from Petoskey to play the festival for the first time. "I mean, just having a bunch of musicians come together and possible jam sessions of people playing all over the place, but just a place for people to come and hear your music, and this building is just fantastic, and little festivals all over the place. People come to hear the music, and it's not just a bar or restaurant, which are alright, but, you know, it's specifically for the music, so I'm really happy about that."

Northern Michigan Songwriters in the Round puts on the festival each year. The festival's roots began about 20 years ago when artists from Northern Michigan Songwriters in the Round began performing monthly shows at Horizon Books in Traverse City, a tradition which continues to this day on the third Friday of each month. In 2005, the club began hosting an annual party and jam session at Building 50 in the Village at Grand Traverse Commons. The annual parties naturally led to the Great Indoor Folk Festival, which has been a hit since its 2009 debut.