Dive Into The DIRT – What Makes Dirt Fest Great For Michigan

This post was originally published on InkAddict's Blog. The old format of the blog can be found here, or head totheir main website

It’s hard to describe what you feel at a music festival until you’re right in the thick of it, but when you feel those riffs going through your chest and the drum beats hitting your body, you can’t help but feel at home. 

That’s what Dirt Fest always brings to the proceedings, no matter the fact that Pontiac is the new home of Dirt Fest this year. We took a little bit of time to speak with one of the originators of Dirt Fest, Matt Dalton, to dig deeper as to why Dirt Fest is, and will continue to be so important for the music scene, especially with it’s new found accessibility to Detroit.

Dirt Fest’s main importance to me has always been showcasing upcoming talent,” says Dalton. “Bringing the show to Pontiac and having a wealth of national acts on the bill will bring a bigger crowd to see the many local bands that I believe in who work hard to get in front of bigger audiences like this.”

For those who aren’t entirely aware of how long Dirt Fest has been around, here’s a shocker: 19 years of operation. That’s quite a streak to have, and it continues to grow every year – especially with the new expansion. Luckily, with that continued support from the music community, Dalton has been able to not only help local bands get their stage time, but also has been able to see bands grow and change from the ground up.

Matt shares: 

“We’re proud to bring LOTS of bands back who have gone on to see serious levels of success on the national scale. WilsonFor The Fallen DreamsSaint RidleyIt Lies Within and Heartsick are just a few homegrown friends of ours who are out there making big waves, and bands like Killswitch EngageAsking Alexandria, and Born Of Osiris are all back at Dirt Fest for a second time. It feels like a big family reunion this year!”

That particular reason is why the family part extends out to InkAddict. 

“The personal relationships are what drive Dirt Fest. We like to consider ourselves a family-run event, and that family extends to our close friends who run businesses that thrive in the Dirt Fest environment,” explains Dalton. “Having friends involved like Jim and Nate and everyone from InkAddict makes things so much more organic and smooth-running. I know I can count on them to add to the event, give the fans an AMAZING Meet& Greet experience with the bands as they have done for us for year, and provide a killer product to the many people who love the brand.”

What makes it even more interesting as you rise up in the years of Dirt Fest, that the schematic stays the same – and the formula is always on point – to have a good time with friends. So when it looks as if partying with friends is all you feel you’re doing – when the festival gets some big attention – it seems to make everyone extremely thankful.

“It’s still incredibly humbling to be rubbing elbows with the big boys like WRIF, Red Bull, and of course our new partners at The Crofoot. As I said before, this is a family-run event that started by scraping a couple nickels together and praying we could pull it off, and here we are now bringing in great bands, attracting REALLY great fans and giving bands and vendors an opportunity to further their goals by reaching a large audience,” says Dalton. “I can’t express how good it feels to be behind something that provides so much positive impact to so many people and have the support of so many others who I look up to and respect. It’s beyond words really.”

With the Pontiac shift, this has put Dalton and the rest of the team into an introspective thought process – and they are hoping that being at The Crofoot Fairgrounds will bring new and fun things to be in the upcoming years.

“We planted our roots in Mid-Michigan, but noticed that people from all over the state AND all over the country started to attend our event. Making the move to Pontiac has been a challenge for us, one that has come with some surprises, but ultimately I think Dirt Fest is poised to be better than ever. So for anyone who has never attended before we hope to see you come out and experience a festival that is one-of-a-kind. We operate differently than other events, the atmosphere is much different than other events, and it’s safe to say you will be undoubtedly have a memorable time. For all our friends and fans who have been coming in the past, get ready to have the same amazing experience with the surroundings of Downtown Pontiac which is going to undergo QUITE the transformation for Dirt Fest 2016.”

The team for Dirt Fest has put together some amazing things as well, besides just the music. With friends and “family” of the Dirt Fest team, the locals attending the festival will get a taste of some of the things we all love. There will be a BMX Ramp set up near the main stage, as well as an Oxygen Bar. (For those who aren’t aware of such things and said “WTF is that?” I have an answer for you – it’s different types of flavored oxygen). There will also be tons of vendors on hand, that will handle clothing, instruments, and more.

Make sure you get your tickets if you haven’t already on DirtFest.com, you don’t want to miss this event August 13!

In addition to the awesome lineups, the fun sights, and all the amenities, we at InkAddict will be part of the major festivities, not just by selling merch and getting our Art Wall on, but also we will be hosting the Artist Signings in our booth! The artists and times are listed below for your convenience.



1:15 – 1:45


2:00 – 2:30


3:30 – 4:00


4:45 – 5:15


6:00 – 6:30


7:15 – 7:45

Amy Cooper is a photographer and journalist from the Detroit area, interested in ink, music, and lifestyle.