Amid big events such as Electric Forest and Common Ground, West Michigan music fans reveled in some crowd-pleasing tour stops and a Lowell bluegrass festival. Images at Local Spins.
The final weekend of June 2019 wasn’t just about Electric Forest, Common Ground Music Festival and the summer’s first heat wave (sort of).
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West Michigan fans also kicked off the long weekend with:
• Americana/roots/bluegrass act Jon Stickley Trio and American Darling Valve at Bell’s Brewery Beer Garden in Kalamazoo on Thursday;
• The kickoff Friday of the two-day JuneGrass bluegrass festival at the Kent County Youth Fairgrounds in Lowell;
• Saturday’s sold-out tour stop by much-admired Idaho indie-rockers Built to Spill (with Clarke & The Himselfs and Orua) at Bell’s Beer Garden’
• Sunday’s weekend-closing, sold-out appearance by RAIN: A Beatles Tribute at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park.
Browse the photo galleries and a recap of JuneGrass below, plus check out extended Local Spins’ coverage of Electric Forest in Rothbury, Common Ground Music Festival in Lansing and Trombone Shorty at Meijer Gardens.
PHOTO GALLERY: Jon Stickley Trio, American Darling Valve at Bell’s Beer Garden
Photos by Derek Ketchum
The West Michigan Bluegrass Music Association’s 24th annual JuneGrass festival in Lowell basked in sunny weather and heart-warming music.
Each band had its own unique dynamic, some singing original tunes while also incorporating crowd favorites into their sets.
JuneGrass showcased bands from across West Michigan, but also included Kentucky-based band Classy & Grassy, young brothers who travel across the country showing off their amazingly advanced instrumental skills.
Lowell’s Uncle Betty, meanwhile, played recognizable tunes such as “Take It Easy” by The Eagles, “Wagon Wheel” by Old Crow Medicine Show, and “Gentle on My Mind” by the late Glen Campbell.
The crowd was at ease, enjoying the shade under the barn, singing along to the well-known songs, and cheering after every performance.
Bluegrass music is special because it relies on pure raw talent, insisted John Lakatos, president of the WMBMA, who noted that membership in the group has doubled in the past year.
“There’s no pedal that you put your foot on to make a guitar sound like something that it’s not,” he said. “It’s pure talent.”
Starting as just a weekend for bluegrass fans to jam their favorite songs, JuneGrass over the past 24 years has turned into a full-fledged, family-oriented two-day festival. – Liv Conaty
PHOTO GALLERY: JuneGrass at the Kent County Youth Fairgrounds in Lowell
Photos by Molly Long
PHOTO GALLERY: Built to Spill at Bell’s Beer Garden in Kalamazoo
Photos by Derek Ketchum