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Celebrating the 50th

The Ark Celebrated 50 years in 2015!

From humble beginnings, The Ark in Ann Arbor is on an elite, short list of folk, roots and ethnic music venues that started in the 1960s, and continues to thrive today.

Considered one of the top music clubs in the world, The Ark is renowned for the quality and breadth of its programming in an intimate 400-seat room. With live music over 300 nights each year, it is one of the best music venues in the world. Artists that have performed legendary shows on the hallowed stage include - Joan Baez, Little Feat, Lyle Lovett, Ani DiFranco, The Avett Brothers, Billy Bragg, Townes Van Zandt, Guy Clark, Patti Smith and hundreds more.


"Any Arts organization that can last 50 years is an American treasure.  Period." --Jeff Daniels, Honorary Chair, The Ark's 50th Anniversary


The Ark kicked off its 50th Anniversary year in 2015 at the 38th Ann Arbor Folk Festival on January 30, 31. Headliners included Jason Isbell, Brandi Carlile, Yonder Mountain String Band, Amos Lee, Ani DiFranco and more. Special Anniversary concerts included evenings at The Ark with Marc Cohn and with Raul Malo in May, and an evening with 50th Anniversary Honorary Chair, Jeff Daniels in June.

In July we celebrated the 50 Year Fling: a five-night celebration at The Ark July 22-26:   

July 22 - The Big Community Sing with Matt Watroba

July 23 - Throwback Thursday: Community Movie Night featuring A Mighty Wind

July 24 - Guitar Greats with Bill Kirchen, Redd Volkeart, Erin McKeown, and Laith Al-Saadi

July 25 - Made In Michigan with Jill Jack, Erin Zindle, Drew Nelson, Abigail Stauffer and Matt Jones

July 26 - Songcrafters In-The-Round with Peter Yarrow, John Gorka, Vienna Teng and Robbie Schaefer

We continued our celebrations in August with The Ark's 50th Anniversary Reunion.  The Ark's 19th Annual Fall Fundraiser at The Ark on September 27 featured The Steel Wheels w/sg The RFD Boys.  

At the end of 2015, we had cause for some joint celebrations as well, with our friend Arlo Guthrie's Alice's Restaurant 50th Anniversary Tour at the Michigan Theater in November, and an evening with BeauSoleil at The Ark in December marking 50 years not just of The Ark, but of one of our great community partners, WEMU.   

Other artists who have had a great impact on The Ark through the years were highlighted as well. A monthly spotlight series included Mary Chapin Carpenter, Jerry Douglas, Rhiannon Giddens, Colin Hay, Mountain Heart, Bela Fleck & Abigail Washburn, and May Erlewine & the Moonlighters.

The Ark wrapped up the 50th officially at the 39th Ann Arbor Folk Festival on January 29 and 30, 2016Headliners included Joan Baez, City and Colour, Cooder-White-Skaggs, Richard Thompson, Yo La Tengo, Joshua Davis and more.  

And now, on ahead to 50 years more!