The free, second-year event at Grand Rapids’ Studio Park aims to unify art, music and technology for a multi-dimensional weekend experience. Get the lowdown at Local Spins.
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Choosing solo sets by Michigan pop favorite Joe Hertler and psychedelic banjoist Mike Savino of Tall Tall Trees to enhance Grand Rapids’ second-year Confluence Festival creates a vibe that fits “perfectly into our mission of unifying art, music and technology.”
So says Brian Cohen, organizer of this weekend’s multi-dimensional art, music, science and technology event taking place at downtown’s Studio Park, with “world-class thinkers” joining performers for its experiential programming.
As part of the free festival, music showcases will take place at Listening Room, with Hertler of The Rainbow Seekers performing at 7:30 p.m. Friday and New York’s Tall Tall Trees (Mike Savino) at 7:30 p.m. Saturday. Details here.
“The focus of our music showcase changes with each festival and that gives us an opportunity to explore different genres and styles,” says Cohen.
“This year, we’re presenting solo artists who expand the limits of traditional instrumentation by incorporating loops, effects and vocal textures into sonic experiences. Joe Hertler is a perfect fit and his solo set allows him to experiment beyond his work with the Rainbow Seekers.
The same is true for psychedelic electric banjoist Mike Savino of Tall Tall Trees. These are remarkable artists.”
The boundary-pushing nature of this weekend’s music ties into Confluence’s mission “to create opportunities for people to experience all the innovation that’s happening across West Michigan” with musicians, artists, entrepreneurs and scientists gathering to share their work and engage the public.
DIGITAL ART, ROBOTICS, GAMING AND TOUTING THE DIY SPIRIT
That experience will include a selection of digital artists curated by Kevin Buist, a “Maker Expo’ showcasing enthusiasts, crafters, hobbyists, engineers and artists who’ve created “amazing things in celebration of the DIY spirit,” an “Innovation Showcase” focused on gaming and spotlighting four collegiate teams and four high school teams competing in a tournament, and a “Future Innovators Zone” where attendees can explore high-tech robotics, drones, rockets and more.
The Robotics Expo will feature top middle and high school teams from across the region who will display their creations and participate in a robot parade.
More than 7,000 people attended 2021’s debut festival on Calder Plaza and organizers expect that number to grow this year.
Cohen, who taught documentary film at St. Louis’ Washington University and produced music festivals before moving to Grand Rapids in 2016, said Confluence’s programming resonates with a wide demographic.
“We provide lots of different ways for people to plug in,” he insists. “What I like to say is that if you have a curious mind and you’re in Grand Rapids the last weekend in September, Confluence is where you need to be.”
Get details and more information online at confluencefest.com.
VIDEO: Tall Tall Trees, “Picture Picture” (Live in Chicago)
VIDEO: Joe Hertler (Solo Acoustic)
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