Friday night’s competition at Kalamazoo Valley Museum drew a packed house for sets by six Michigan acts seeking a performance slot in the March festival. The Local Spins recap and photos.
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After spirited sets by six Michigan acts in front of a packed house at Kalamazoo Valley Museum on Friday night, Kalamazoo’s Celeste Allison Trio and Lansing’s Monte Pride came out on top in the 11th annual play-in contest for the Kalamazoo Fretboard Festival.
The winners earned paid slots in the March 7 festival, which will feature performances on several stages and numerous vendors at the museum.
On Friday, a panel of judges representing a cross-section of Kalamazoo’s arts and music scene — DIT Kalamazoo, Arts Council of Kalamazoo, WMUK and Western Michigan University’s WIDR — evaluated performances by three acts in two categories: solo and band.
During their sets, the performers impressed attendees by rolling out mostly originals with a handful of fetching covers, including Moody’s rendition of Soundgarden’s “Blow Up the Outside World” and Jukejoint Handmedowns’ take on The Bangles’ “Walk Like an Egyptian.”
For the winners, the upcoming Fretboard Festival sets gives them an opportunity to regale fans with new material.
Alt-folk/jazz-pop’s Celeste Allison Trio last fall released its self-titled debut album, which is nominated for best contemporary folk album of the year by Grand Rapids radio station WYCE-FM at its upcoming Jammie Awards. The trio plays Fennville’s Salt of the Earth on Feb. 9.
Pride is set to release his new album, “Even in Absence” on April 25. He returns to Kalamazoo on Feb. 1 to open for Joshua Davis at Bell’s Brewery Eccentric Cafe.
Organizers announced on Friday that the 2020 Fretboard Festival will once again boast workshops and vending booths, as well as pop-up performances by the Last Gasp Duo, Susie Parr Trio, Carrie McFerrin and Uncle Kooky.
A Friday night kickoff event will star Grand Rapids Latin rock band Cabildo.
Mark Sahlgren & The Fragile Egos, Deep Fried Pickle Project and Ben Jammin will be among other festival performers, with a final lineup expected to be announced in the near future.
PHOTO GALLERY: Kalamazoo Fretboard Festival Play-In Contest
Kalamazoo Valley Museum (1/10/20)
Photos by Derek Ketchum
VIDEO: Fretboard Festival Play-In Contest Winnners
Video by Derek Ketchum
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