June 11, 2014 - By Katie Winkler
Review Staff Writer
A secluded amphitheater, located at 2525 Joslyn Road, is available for community members to use, but not many know that it exists.
Wildwood was built and opened to the public in 2011, with benefit concerts and local bands playing occasionally. With efforts from the Orion Township board, Wildwood will become a popular place this summer for music festivals and church organizations. It can accommodate 2,500-plus people.
"It's kind of like a hidden gem that a lot of people don't know about," Township Supervisor Chris Barnett said.
In efforts to raise the funds for a special needs playground to go in at Friendship Park, Kristi Schons started the organization "Let Them Play", in honor of her twelve-year-old son Zander who suffers from Cerebral Palsy.
When her traditional fundraising wasn't raising the money fast enough, Schons, her sister-in-law Shannon, and mom's from Zander's school (Kingsley Montgomery) have teamed up to create LO-Palooza.
This music festival will showcase local bands from the surrounding cities to raise money for "Let Them Play" in conjunction with Conductive Education Center of Metro Detroit. The $10 entry fee will be a donation for the playground, along with contributions from Chicago Brothers Pizza, Buffalo Wild Wings, Michigan Craft Beer and Wine, and T-shirt sales.
LO-Palooza will take place at Wildwood on July 19 from 1-9 p.m.
"I just really hope that people come out and see the importance of supporting the cause. It's crazy to me that we have to work this hard to raise money for our children that have special needs to get a playground," Schons said. "These kids don't have anywhere to go play."
The second annual Wildwood Music Festival will take place on August 9, a free concert showcasing eleven local bands from the Oakland County area. This family event will consist of food, including Jets Pizza, Buffalo Wild Wings, Great Harvest Bread Co., Kona Ice-Cream and the Lion's Club Pig Roast. There will be a rock climbing wall, craft table, bounce house and trampoline in addition to music.
"One of the motivations for this is to give younger kids the chance to give a band together and be able to perform," event coordinator Doug Gibson said. "I think it's a fantastic thing to do in the summer. Bring your lawn chair and enjoy some music, especially from local bands that you know."
A full list of bands and other festival details can be found at wildwoodmusicfestival.com.
Every Tuesday from 7-8:30 p.m. local bands come and perform at Wildwood at a free concert for everyone to enjoy. A variety of bands will perform in the upcoming weeks during the "Concert in the Park" series including North Oakland Concert and Run Wild Walk/Run, First Baptist Church of Lake Orion, Toppermost-Beatles Tribute Band, Allen Turner-Country, Rhythm Factor-Classic and Current Rock, Allen as Tim and the Dance Hall Rockers-Tim McGraw Tribute and Ages Apart-Rock Hits.
Orion Township recently offered one free date to local churches so they can hold a church service at Wildwood. Barnett explains, "We want people to see that it's there. If churches want to use it for an event, they can because it's free."
Event information can be found at oriontownship.org, while requests for using the Wildwood Amphitheater must go through the Supervisors office, (248) 391-0304 ext. 101.