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Former Parshallville Rocker headlines 2013 Melon Festival

By webmaster - Posted on May 19, 2013

Mark Farner, former leader of the classic-rock band Grand Funk Railroad, used to record in "The Swamp" in Parshallville.

The following appeared in the May 10, 2013 edition of the Press & Argus:

Mark Farner, former leader of the classic-rock band Grand Funk Railroad and a Livingston County resident, will be the featured performer at this year’s 53rd annual Howell Melon Festival, set for Aug. 17.

With Farner as lead guitar and lead vocalist, Grand Funk sold more than 25 million records and produced such hits as “We’re an American Band,” “I’m Your Captain (Closer To Home)” and “Some Kind of Wonderful.”

All remain staples on rock radio stations.

“We wanted someone big who could rock out,” said Debbie Mikula, director of the Howell Area Parks and Recreation Authority. “He’s certainly someone people know.”

But what even hard-core fans might not know is that many of Farner’s classic hits were recorded right here in Livingston County.

That’s because the band frequently recorded at The Swamp, Farner’s home studio in Parshallville in northwestern Hartland Township.

That even took Mikula by surprise.

“After last year’s Melon Fest, I was having a conversation with a woman who mentioned something about a place called The Swamp, and when I learned about its history, it really made him (Farner) a natural for us,” Mikula said.

Farner first found fame — at least regionally — as a member of Terry Knight & the Pack, one of Michigan’s classic rock bands of the 1960s.

He has continued to write, record and perform since his days with Grand Funk, even venturing into contemporary Christian music. Music from throughout his career is available for purchase at his website,

His Melon Festival appearance is sponsored by Citizens Insurance Co. of America.

Farner’s 7 p.m. performance is free, though tickets are available for a preconcert meet-and-greet at 5:30 p.m.

“People will be able to have their pictures taken with him and get autographs,” Mikula said.

Tickets for the preconcert meet-and-greet with Farner, which also include front-row seats for the show, are $50 and available by calling 517-546-0693, ext. 0.

Written by Wayne Peal, Daily Press & Argus

Fun Fact

On April 18, 1975 heavy rains caused a flash flood that wiped out the Parshallville dam and Parshallville Road, virtually cutting the village in two.