Despite some deluges, the shows must go on. And they did Saturday, with country’s Jake Owens and more in Martin, regional stars at Circle Pines Center, rock and blues in Rockford, and indoor gems in Grand Rapids. But the B93 Bash was a no-go for Sunday.
SCROLL DOWN FOR THREE FULL PHOTO GALLERIES, VIDEO
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The summer music locomotive is rolling in and nothing can stop it — not rain, chilly or humid weather or all those pesky outdoor lawn and garden chores.
So let’s jump right in to the week that was, captured in images at Local Spins by photographers Taylor Mansen, Eric Stoike, Anna Sink, Tori Thomas, Brad Miller and Kristine Carpenter, and in words by Local Spins writers Jordan McNaughton, Ethan Dombrowski and John Sinkevics.
BUTTERMILK JAMBOREE (Circle Pines Center in Delton)
• The sky remained a sheet of blueish-gray hues for Friday’s opening day of the Buttermilk Jamboree at Circle Pines Center between Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo, with a constant threat of rain and cooler temperatures than most would expect for mid-June. Most attendees dressed appropriately, though when winds picked up midway through The Crane Wives’ evening set, a few headed back to came featuring rain would finally arrive. Others would not be deterred from their musical mission.
&bull: Grand Rapids’ romp-stomping Fauxgrass played to a delighted audience Friday night, with bassist and vocalist Tim McKay proclaiming, “This is my favorite festival of the year.” (He also made note of all the dancers in the crowd at one point: “You make such a sad song look so joyful.”)
• Folk-rock’s The Crane Wives drew the largest crowd of the day, with what seemed like the majority of those in the campground making their way to the main stage area and others trickling in during the set. And the band seemed ecstatic not only to be playing Buttermilk, but also to have such an energetic audience.
• On one of the smaller stages Friday evening, singer-songwriter Seth Bernard, his father, Bob Bernard, and Crane Wives drummer Dan Rickabus played beautiful waltz numbers to a meager, but enthralled audience.
• Kalamazoo’s Funktion certainly lived up to its name, providing the festival with a kick-start for anyone who thought they were tired as the sun began to set. Playing the Sugar Bush stage in a large pavilion, fans moved and grooved as the band churned out funky bass lines and soulful vocals.
• Buttermilk campers constantly seem to run into folks they know, part of the festival’s strong sense of community, especially among returning attendees. But it’s also the kind of festival where a casual conversation with a stranger leads to an invitation to their campsite for a fireside gathering — all part of the communal vibe at a center with a campground, trail system and picturesque wooded areas.
• Rain — and sunshine — kept rolling in and out of the Delton area on Saturday. For the most part, the wet weather flare-ups didn’t affect performances as Buttermilk devotees adjusted accordingly, either heading to the beer tent or Sugar Bush pavilion or just plain enjoying the showers by taking a shower amid the downpour.
• The variety of stages helped set a different mood for music lovers on Saturday, from the homey, acoustic grace of Jenny LaJoye and Stephen Williams on the Front Porch to the outdoor pub feel of Alison Cole, Serita Crowley & Jon Hayes (with special guest Peter “Madcat” Ruth) and Moxeyville in the Beer Tent to the intensely immersive atmosphere of Red Tail Ring, Breathe Owl Breathe and Delilah DeWylde & The Lost Boys on the Sugar Bush Stage to the all-out festival-styled charm of Sparky & Rhonda Rucker, Grupo Aye and Brown Rice Family on the main Orchard Stage. Guitarist Micah Middaugh of the inventive, experimental Michigan folk group Breathe Owl Breathe had his own unusual description of the Sugar Bush pavilion vibe: “I feel like I’m in the mouth of the family dog.”
• Buttermilk certainly is a music festival for kids. They’re everywhere — dancing, romping, hooping, exploring and generally, embracing the family-friendly atmosphere and invigorating performances. And when West Michigan’s Latin-fueled Grupo Aye and New York’s reggae- and world music-infused Brown Rice Family turned things into an instant dance party, adults young and old channeled their inner child by twirling, line-dancing, hopping, hooting, hollering and swaying gleefully deep into the night.
VIDEO: Buttermilk Jamboree 2015 (Day Two) See full photo gallery below.
B93 BIRTHDAY BASH (U.S. 131 Motorsports Park in Martin)
Rain finally washed out the two-day B93 Birthday Bash, with organizers cancelling Sunday’s concert with its lineup of country stars, including Montgomery Gentry and Frankie Ballard. Sunday showers aside, the move was made mostly because of “safety concerns” due to the condition of the grounds at the U.S. 131 Motorsports Park in Martin.
Still, after thousands stood in line in the morning rain, the storms sweeping through on Saturday only interrupted the day-long party, which included performances by West Michigan’s Union Guns, Jackie Lee, Granger Smith, Maddie & Tae, Kip Moore and Jake Owen. And while many fled the scene when the downpour finally arrived at one point about five songs into Kip Moore’s set, others reveled in the mud and puddles, as evidenced by images from photographer Eric Stoike.
Indeed, about one-quarter of the crowd stuck around and “was definitely excited for the show to go on,” Stoike reported, noting workers had to clear off the stage so Owen could play.
Still, Moore’s abbreviated set caused some issues. “Thanks for love out there today during the storm,” Moore tweeted later. “Gear is ruined but the energy y’all gave us made up for it (a little)!”
B93 BIRTHDAY BASH PHOTO GALLERY
Photos by Eric Stoike
THE ACCIDENTALS (One Trick Pony in Grand Rapids
Traverse City’s The Accidentals returned to One Trick Pony in Grand Rapids on Thursday for a truly celebratory occasion: owner Dan Verhil’s birthday. And they didn’t disappoint the birthday boy, or the upbeat throng gathered in the intimate venue. The hard-gigging trio uncorked diverse selections new and old, and even brought up a couple of special musical guests (Ralston Bowles, Adam Wright).
ANDY FRASCO (Founders Brewing in Grand Rapids)
L.A. funk and blues-meister Andy Frasco & The U.N. brought their usual raucous party to Founders Brewing on Thursday, creating a musical frenzy for an approving crowd of fans.
LESS THAN JAKE/REEL BIG FISH (The Intersection in Grand Rapids)
Florida ska-punk band Less Than Jake blew the roof off of The Intersection on Friday, playing a vivacious, extended, brilliant and crowd-pleasing set, bursting with confetti, streamers, balloons and, of course, trombone-fueled skanking.
Meanwhile, Huntington Beach-based ska-punk heavyweights Reel Big Fish also brought the party to the Grand Rapids nightclub the same night, delivering an abbreviated set of their angsty-yet-uptempo jams: a performance that brought the persona of the brass-surfer to life.
ROCKFORD START OF SUMMER CELEBRATION
The annual celebration kicked off on Thursday with Rockford Brewing’s beer tent hosting performances by Fly Paper and The Crane Wives, and continued through Saturday, when bands such as 13th Hour, The Bronk Bros., The Outer Vibe and more performed on stages throughout the downtown area.
BUTTERMILK JAMBOREE PHOTO GALLERY
Photos by Taylor Mansen, Anna Sink and Brad Miller
BEST OF THE REST: WEEKEND PHOTO GALLERY
The Accidentals photos by Tori Thomas
Reel Big Fish photos by Anna Sink
Less Than Jake photo by Aris Hampers
Start of Summer celebration photos by Anna Sink, Kristine Carpenter, Taylor Mansen