By Matthew Waldrep
If any of you kids out there were caught like a deer in the headlights by News Editor Lizz’s inquiry about your summer plans in her “Summer in the city” article and had no good answer other than “I’ll probably work, or maybe learn macrame,” I’ve got the perfect cure for your encroaching summer-time blues: five excellent music events, all within West Michigan, and I guarantee you won’t be disappointed.
Founders Fest 2012
Founders Brewing Company is not only known for their unique, and delicious brews, they’re also known for some kick-ass musical events. Founders Fest turns Grandville Avenue into a raging party in downtown GR. Starting in the afternoon and going past sundown, the beer and music event is the perfect way to spend a summer Saturday. This year the funk/jazz trio Soulive will be headlining the party. The psychedelic rock group, Ultraviolet Hippopotamus, and Four Finger Five are joining the line-up as well. Just a word of advice: if you show up early and start throwing back the super-hoppy, delicious brews, pace yourself!
-June 28 to July 1
Just so everyone is aware, this is NOT ROTHBURY. Yes it’s a large music festival held at the Double JJ Ranch in Rothbury, but the theme has gone predominately electronic. Now that said, what better way to experience some great house, trance, jam/electronic, and of course some trailer park disco (aka dub-step), than in a dreamlike forest saturated in the neon glow of psychedelic lighting and décor. Now, not all the artists are carrying the banner of total electronic music. Jam-band juggernaut, The String Cheese Incident, will once again be headlining the event with three performances, and the instrumental, electronic jam band STS9 will rock with two performances. Bassnectar, Girl Talk, and Big Gigantic are among the other must see shows at the four-day music event.
City and Lights Music Festival
-August 17 and 18
For festivals, we do pretty well for ourselves here in GR. City and Lights Music Festival held at the Calder Plaza is a sure fire way to get down this summer without going far. Local DJs will keep you dancing all day with this outdoor groove-fest, and this one certainly won’t break the bank.
Local First Street Party
This will be the ninth annual Local First Street Party in Grand Rapids. Held downtown, outside Bistro Bella Vita, Local First throws this little shindig and features local food, local musicians, and Founders beer. Running from four in the afternoon to midnight, this is, once again, another excellent way to party down in the city this summer as well as support local businesses and artists.
-June 8 to 10
Don’t worry, I didn’t forget about you folksy, hippie types. Buttermilk Jamboree held in Delton, just south-east of GR, is an easy get-away to the country and will have some great folk, rock, and world-beat music for all you barefoot tree-huggers to get down to. This year’s line up includes Crane Wives, Funkadesi, Seth & May and many more.