With 46 bands playing 23 venues on Saturday, the unusual Walk the Beat event returned to this lakeshore community with another first: a tie for second place. Story, photo gallery.
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West Michigan gypsy-rock jam band Cosmic Knot took home the grand prize in Saturday’s Walk the Beat festival and competition in Grand Haven, topping a field of 46 acts who performed at dozens of venues on the city’s East Side.
Hundreds strolled from stage to stage in the sunshine — from parks to auto body shops — to cheer and text-vote for their favorite bands on Saturday afternoon during the popular Walk the Beat event that returned after a one-year hiatus.
And for the first time ever, the competition had a tie for second place: Grand Rapids country-blues/rock group Stone Soup & the Broken Teeth and Holland blues/funk-rock band Mojo shared the $500 prize.
“The festival went great, between my wildest dreams and expectations. Everything just fell into place,” said festival director Bob Moore, who was leading the event for the first time. “There is something truly special about the music community here.”
The music community in question proved to be a diverse one Saturday, with performers churning out spiritual gospel to progressive punk-rock to spoken word hip hop and everything in between at 23 host sites in the Beechtree Street business corridor on Grand Haven’s East Side.
SO MANY ‘TALENTED, FRIENDLY MUSICIANS’
For Cosmic Knot, which won the “best song” contest at 2017’s Walk the Beat, it was another sweet ending to a special event. The band won a prize package that includes 40 hours of studio time at Third Coast Recording Company in Grand Haven.
“There’s truly nothing like this,” said lead guitarist, singer and frontman Tom Wall, who at one point on Saturday even climbed onto the roof of a vehicle to solo on his guitar.
“How are there this many talented, friendly musicians, who all play in different bands together … and with people in the community supporting us and helping make this all a possibility? Connect with these people, the people who can help you out. Because without that, you aren’t going to get anywhere.”
The group wrapped up its set past the festival’s ending time — still soloing, jamming and wowing the crowd well past 5 p.m. And the minute Cosmic Knot’s set ended, a man ran up to shake each of the band members’ hands.
“I haven’t left your group since I got here,” he gushed. “I’ve seen Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jeff Beck. I never got to see (Jimi) Hendrix, but you’re as close as I’m ever gonna get.”
Nathan Walton, guitarist and vocalist for second-place band Stone Soup & the Broken Teeth, agreed that it was a memorable experience.
“What a cool event,” he said. “I am thrilled to be a part of it all. It’s an awesome day. I just wish I had more time to walk around and listen to more of the other performers.”
Louis Padnos, lead guitarist and vocalist for Mojo, called it “really exciting. It’s a different kind of show, a really great experience, especially seeing other bands also doing their thing, and getting to learn and share ideas.
“Any time you can get in front of people and put a smile on their faces, it’s a good day.”
PHOTO GALLERY: Walk the Beat 2019 in Grand Haven
Photos by Matt Marn