Festivals in Michigan

The Harbor Beach Maritime Festival 2024 – A Celebration of Music, Maritime Heritage and Fun On Lake Huron

The Harbor Beach Maritime Festival is a highlight of the summer season, drawing thousands of visitors to the picturesque shores of Harbor Beach, Michigan. This annual event offers a delightful mix of music, camping, and family-friendly activities celebrating the region’s rich maritime heritage. The festival promises an unforgettable time for all attendees, from free concerts featuring talented musicians to cozy camping experiences under the stars. Whether you’re a resident or a tourist looking for a unique getaway, the Harbor Beach Maritime Festival has something special for everyone. Read on to discover why this festival should be on your must-visit list for 2024.

History of the Harbor Beach Maritime Festival

The Harbor Beach Maritime Festival was created in 2001 to celebrate the Lighthouse’s transfer of ownership from the U.S. Government to the City of Harbor Beach. Now in its 23rd year, the festival has expanded from just a celebration of the local beacon to a four-day live music venue with numerous family events and one of the best fireworks displays in the Midwest.

Over the years, the festival has grown significantly, evolving from a small local event into a major attraction that draws visitors from all over the country. Key milestones in the festival’s history include introducing free music concerts and adding camping facilities, allowing visitors to immerse themselves fully in the festival experience.

Notable past events have included performances by artists who have gone on to achieve national fame, maritime-themed parades, and spectacular fireworks displays over the lake. Each year, the festival committee works tirelessly to introduce new attractions and activities, ensuring that the Harbor Beach Maritime Festival remains dynamic and exciting for all ages.

Main Attractions and Events For Maritime Festival 2024

The Harbor Beach Maritime Festival is renowned for its diverse range of attractions and events, ensuring there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Among the highlights are the free music concerts and the unique camping experience, both of which have become signature features of the festival.

Free Music At Maritime Festival Harbor Beach

Music is at the heart of the Harbor Beach Maritime Festival, with over 24 hours of free concerts that attract music lovers from near and far. The festival prides itself on showcasing diverse performers, ranging from local talents to nationally recognized artists. Over the years, genres have spanned rock, country, blues, and pop, ensuring a varied musical experience for all attendees.

One of the festival’s unique charms is its history of featuring acts that have achieved significant fame. For instance, [Artist Name], who performed at the festival in [Year], later rose to national prominence with their hit single “[Song Title].” Such performances provide great entertainment and offer festival-goers a chance to see future stars up close.


Another major draw is the camping experience at the Harbor Beach Maritime Festival. Festival-goers can set up tents or bring their RVs to enjoy a weekend of outdoor fun and relaxation. The camping grounds are well-equipped with essential amenities, including clean restrooms, shower facilities, and convenient access to the festival area.

Camping at the festival allows visitors to fully immerse themselves in the event, enjoying late-night bonfires, stargazing, and the camaraderie of fellow campers. Many attendees return year after year, making it a cherished tradition. Testimonials from past attendees highlight the friendly atmosphere and the unique opportunity to connect with nature while being part of a vibrant community event.

Noteworthy Past Acts

One of the exciting aspects of the Harbor Beach Maritime Festival is its track record of hosting artists who later achieved widespread acclaim. Over the years, several performers who took the festival stage have made it big in the music industry.

Barbarossa Brothers

The Barbarossa Brothers are a roots-rock band with a sound that blends Americana, folk, and rock. Hailing from Michigan, their music is characterized by storytelling lyrics, harmonies, and a mix of acoustic and electric instruments. They often draw inspiration from their Midwest roots, creating a sound that feels both modern and timeless.

Black Jake & The Carnies

Black Jake & The Carnies are a unique blend of punk, bluegrass, and Americana, often described as “crabgrass.” Their high-energy performances and eclectic sound set them apart. With quirky lyrics and a carnival-like stage presence, they bring a fun and raucous atmosphere to their shows, making them a favorite at festivals and live venues.

Bigfoot Buffalo

Bigfoot Buffalo is a jam band from Grand Rapids, Michigan, known for their improvisational style and eclectic mix of rock, blues, folk, and funk. Their live shows are dynamic and engaging, often featuring extended jams and intricate musicianship. The band’s music reflects a laid-back, yet adventurous spirit.

Brett Mitchell & The Giant Ghost

Brett Mitchell & The Giant Ghost offer a mix of rock, pop, and Americana. Brett Mitchell, a singer-songwriter from Midland, Michigan, fronts the band with his soulful voice and storytelling lyrics. Catchy melodies, heartfelt lyrics, and a blend of acoustic and electric instrumentation characterize the band’s sound.

Sami Mei

Sami Mei is a young and emerging singer-songwriter with a talent for creating heartfelt and introspective music. Her songs often feature piano and acoustic guitar, with lyrics that explore personal and emotional themes. Her soothing voice and expressive performances characterize Sami’s music.

Emma Guzman

Emma Guzman is a Detroit-based singer-songwriter whose music spans indie, folk, and pop genres. Known for her captivating voice and poignant lyrics, she has been making waves in the Michigan music scene. Her songs often feature introspective storytelling and a mix of acoustic and electric sounds.

Anthony Retka

Anthony Retka is a singer-songwriter from Detroit, known for his soulful voice and heartfelt lyrics. His music blends folk, rock, and pop elements, creating a sound that is both familiar and fresh. Retka’s songwriting is often introspective, exploring themes of love, loss, and personal growth.

The Hooligans

The Hooligans are a high-energy cover band that brings a mix of rock, pop, and dance music to their performances. Known for their lively shows and crowd-pleasing setlists, they cover a wide range of hits from different eras. The Hooligans are a staple in the Michigan live music scene, known for getting audiences on their feet and dancing.

Festival-goers often reminisce about the early performances of these now-famous acts, recalling the intimate and electrifying atmosphere of those shows. This tradition of showcasing emerging talent continues, making the Harbor Beach Maritime Festival a must-visit for music enthusiasts looking to catch the next big thing.

Current Acts at the Harbor Beach Maritime Festival

FiftyAmpFuse 2018 PROMO

The XoXos

The XoXos are a versatile rock band known for their dynamic mix of cover songs and original material. Their repertoire spans genres from Motown to grunge, showcasing their ability to adapt and entertain diverse audiences. The band features:

  • Bobby Manila (Guitars/Vocals): Bringing both rhythm and lead guitar skills, Bobby also contributes to the band’s vocal harmonies.
  • Jayce Allan (Bass/Vocals): Providing the groove with his bass lines, Jayce also adds depth to the vocal harmonies.
  • Tony Schiappacasse (Guitars): Complementing Bobby’s guitar work, Tony adds layers of sound and solos that enhance their performances.

The XoXos are known for their energetic live shows, often encouraging audience participation and ensuring a memorable experience for all attendees.

The Sinclairs

The Sinclairs are a high-energy party band that focuses on rock, pop, and funk hits from the ’60s through the ’90s. Their goal is to keep the dance floor packed with timeless party anthems. They blend powerful vocals, tight rhythms, and infectious grooves to create an irresistible atmosphere. You can learn more about them on their website.

The Pulse

The Pulse is a cover band that specializes in high-energy dance music. Their extensive song list covers a wide variety of genres, ensuring that they can cater to any audience. Their performances are designed to get people moving and keep the party going with a mix of current hits and classic dance tracks.


Over the last two decades, FiftyAmpFuse® has become a staple for festivals, concerts, and corporate events across the nation. Formed in 2004 and based in Detroit, the band has earned acclaim for their thrilling performances, which blend recent hits with tributes to some of the greatest artists of all time.

These bands and performers offer a wide range of musical styles and experiences, ensuring that there’s something for every audience. From the dance floor-focused beats of The Pulse and The Sinclairs to the versatile performances of FiftyAmpFuse® and the genre-spanning repertoire of The XoXos, each act brings something unique to the table, making them ideal choices for various events and venues.

Harbor Beach Maritime Festival Activities and Entertainment

The Harbor Beach Maritime Festival

Beyond the music and camping, the Harbor Beach Maritime Festival offers various activities and entertainment options to keep visitors engaged throughout the event. The festival grounds are bustling with food stalls, craft vendors, games, and maritime-themed displays, ensuring there’s always something to see and do.

Food and Crafts

Visitors can indulge in various culinary delights from local food vendors, offering everything from classic festival fare like hot dogs and funnel cakes to gourmet specialties and local delicacies. The craft vendors showcase handmade goods, including jewelry, artwork, and nautical-themed souvenirs, providing a perfect opportunity to pick up unique gifts and mementos.

Games and Activities

The festival offers a range of games and activities designed to entertain and delight families and children. Popular attractions include carnival rides, face painting, and interactive games. Maritime-themed activities, such as boat tours and lighthouse visits, allow visitors to explore Harbor Beach’s rich nautical heritage.

Maritime Displays

Maritime enthusiasts will appreciate the historical displays and educational exhibits that highlight the area’s seafaring past. These exhibits often feature artifacts, photographs, and stories that provide a glimpse into the life of sailors and the maritime industry that has shaped Harbor Beach.

Planning Your Visit

It’s important to plan ahead to make the most of your experience at the Harbor Beach Maritime Festival. Here are some tips and essential information to help you prepare for your visit.

Dates and Location

The 2024 Harbor Beach Maritime Festival is scheduled from July 10th to July 14th. The festival is held at various locations throughout Harbor Beach, offering stunning views of Lake Huron and easy access to the town’s amenities.

Key Events Schedule

  • Wednesday, July 10: Harbor Beach Hospital 5K Walk/Run
  • Thursday, July 11: Friends of the Library Book Sale, Bocce Tournament, Xoxo’s Band
  • Friday, July 12: Farmers Market, The Pulse Band, Corn Hole Tournament, Sinclairs Band
  • Saturday, July 13: Lighthouse Tours, Battle on the Beach Strong Man Contest, Craft Show, Co-Ed Beach Volleyball Tournament, Sand Creations Contest, Jet Ski Races, Pet & Bike Parade, Kids Carnival, Pet Tricks & Frog Jumping, Detroit Social Club Band, FiftyAmpFuse Band, Fireworks
  • Sunday, July 14: Beach Assault Basketball Tournament, Car Show, Ecumenical Worship Service, Craft Show, Zion Lutheran Fish Fry, Dueling Pianos, HBAA Community Cash Raffle

Where To Stay During the Festival

friends playing a card game outside their camper van
Photo by KoolShooters on Pexels.com

In addition to the on-site camping options, Harbor Beach offers a range of accommodation choices to suit different preferences and budgets. Visitors can choose from hotels, motels, bed and breakfasts, and vacation rentals. It’s advisable to book your accommodation early, as the festival attracts a large number of visitors.

Tips for First-Time Visitors

  • What to Bring: Comfortable clothing and footwear, sunscreen, a hat, and a reusable water bottle are essentials for enjoying the festival. If you’re camping, don’t forget your tent, sleeping bag, and camping gear.
  • Navigating the Festival Grounds: Grab a festival map upon arrival to familiarize yourself with the layout. Identify key areas such as the main stage, food stalls, restrooms, and camping sites.
  • Parking and Transportation: Parking is available near the festival grounds, but it can fill up quickly. Consider carpooling or using public transportation if possible. Shuttle services may also be provided from certain locations.

Local Attractions and Things to Do

Haunted Michigan Pointe Aux Barques Lighthouse
Pointe Aux Barques Lighthouse

While attending the Harbor Beach Maritime Festival, take the opportunity to explore the charming town of Harbor Beach and its surrounding attractions. Here’s a brief guide to some of the must-see places and activities.

Exploring Harbor Beach

Harbor Beach is a quaint town with a rich history and a welcoming atmosphere. Stroll through the downtown area to discover charming shops, local eateries, and historical landmarks.

Nearby Attractions

  • Harbor Beach Lighthouse: A historic landmark offering guided tours and stunning views of Lake Huron.
  • Bathing Beach Park: Perfect for a relaxing day by the water, with sandy shores and picnic areas.
  • Pointe Aux Barques Lighthouse: Another iconic lighthouse located a short drive from Harbor Beach, known for its scenic beauty and historical significance.

Dining and Shopping In Harbor Beach

Sample delicious local cuisine at Harbor Beach’s restaurants and cafes. From fresh seafood to classic American fare, there’s something to satisfy every palate. Don’t forget to visit local shops for unique gifts and souvenirs to commemorate your trip.


A unique rural restaurant in a renovated 1887 building. The restaurant offers an affordable city-style dining experience with exceptional customer service and high-quality food. The menu includes eggs, omelets, crepes, waffles, gourmet hot dogs, hamburgers, and ethnic dishes. Whether you’re seeking breakfast or lunch, Eighteen87 provides a memorable dining experience.

Smally’s Bar & Grill

Good Food, Good Drinks, and Good People. Established in 1946 and currently owned and operated by the third generation of the Smalley family, offering a fine assortment of your favorite beverages, great meals, and snacks

Ernestos Pizza

A top-rated pizza joint in Harbor Beach, it is well known for exceptionally cheesy pizza. Check out the BLT pizza for something unique. 

Final Thoughts About the Harbor Beach Maritime Festival

In conclusion, the Harbor Beach Maritime Festival is a must-visit event that offers a perfect blend of music, camping, and family-friendly activities. Whether you’re a music enthusiast, a nature lover, or simply looking for a fun and memorable experience, this festival has something to offer. Plan your visit to Harbor Beach, MI,

Michael Hardy

Michael Hardy is the owner of Thumbwind Publications LLC. Michael was born in Michigan and grew up near Caseville. In 2009 he started this fun-loving site covering Michigan's Upper Thumb. Since then, he has authored a vast range of content and established a loyal base of 60,000 visitors per month.

View all posts by Michael Hardy →

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