The cozy Memorial Day weekend festival along Lake Michigan will boast sets by The Giving Tree Band, Melophobix, Fauxgrass and many more. See the full schedule of bands.
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“It is a friends-and-family festival, and it’s my 6-year-old daughter’s favorite one of the year,” said Wheeler, adding that it’s a joy to “be with folks that enjoy the music, the friendship and the opportunity to spend time together.”
For Volkswagen bus lovers, in particular, the unique summer-launching weekend event is an opportunity to reconnect and make new friends while reveling in performances by regional acts on two stages.
Indeed, Buses by the Beach Bus Benefit organizers have filled out the performance lineup with their final opening act: The Waverlys, who will be the first band to take the stage at 7:30 p.m. Friday.
With popular returning acts such as Roosevelt Diggs, Fauxgrass and Nicholas James & The Bandwagon on the bill, the benefit raising money for the Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors promotes a family-friendly atmosphere and a full slate of activities, games, talks and more.
Along with main stage sets by the likes of Illinois “new age outlaw” group The Giving Tree Band and Grand Rapids’ amplified rock-funk fusion band Melophobix, an acoustic stage will host captivating singer-songwriter acts, including Michigan natives Sam N’ Eye, Sydney Burnham and Loren Johnson. The Acoustic Woods Stage will be running Saturday afternoon.
Day pass ticket prices are $45 for Saturday and Sunday; weekend passes are $90. Children 17 and younger are admitted free. There’s also a $20 non-VW bus pass required for vehicles that aren’t Volkswagen buses. Get tickets online here.
In addition to live music, there’s a $15 option to buy a pass to gain access to the rock wall and high ropes course.
Organizer Owen Smith said it’s tough to pick one must-see attraction.
“I would love to say that this band or that band is the one to see. Or that you need to make sure you go tie-dye a shirt or listen to ‘Bus Talk’ with Steve Shelley or buy some auction tickets to see what you might win,” he said.
“But I just can’t say that any of those are ‘the thing.’ What I’d tell you is, ‘Don’t miss talking to the Volks.’ The Volks (VW bus owners) are what make this ‘festival’ what it is. These people coming together from diverse backgrounds and experiences, opening their arms to everyone, supporting a good cause in The Phoenix Society, make this event what it is.
West Michigan Americana outfit Roosevelt Diggs put it this way about the “intimate feeling” festival: “The ambiance that comes with Buses by the Beach is amazing. … It’s like hanging out with your best friends and welcoming new ones to your tribe every year. You may come in a stranger, but never leave that way.”
Check out Local Spins coverage of last year’s festival here. And check out a video here that tells the story behind Buses by the Beach.
VIDEO: Buses by the Beach
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