As summer turned to fall, live music shined in Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo and Rockford, with a first-time indoor Michigan showcase hosted by the Kent District Library. Browse the photos at Local Spins.
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The weekend featured musical firsts, a third and a last.
It rolled out the first-ever KDL Vibes Fest hosted by Kent District Library with more than a dozen regional acts performing at the Cascade Township branch library.
Then there was the third annual Confluence Festival at Rosa Parks Circle in downtown Grand Rapids, featuring a Friday “Music Summit” with a keynote address by music industry expert Ari Herstand and a headlining set by the Grace Theisen Band.
Earlier in the week, GLC Live at 20 Monroe hosted the eye- and ear-catching display of Japanese kawaii metal band Babymetal for the first time, along with Dethklok and Jason Richardson.
And there was the final Bell’s Brewery Beer Garden show of the season in Kalamazoo, with Joe Hertler & The Rainbow Seekers and Hala pumping up a big crowd.
The weekend also saw Kanin Wren’s Taylor Swift Experience powering up pop at Sullivan Field on Grand Rapids’ West Side, a Rockford Harvest Festival that also served as an album-release show at Rockford Brewing Co. for old-time folk’s Round Creek String Band and two big weekend closers on Sunday: alt-metal’s Helmet at The Pyramid Scheme and folk-rock/Americana’s Drew Holcomb & The Neighbors at Kalamazoo State Theatre.
Check out show recaps and photo galleries below
PHOTO GALLERY: Confluence Fest’s Music Summit
Rosa Parks Circle in Grand Rapids
Photos by Anna Sink
The weekend Confluence Festival was ultimately a celebration of technology, heightened by local arts. Exhibits, vendors, demonstrations and live music performances drew hundreds throughout the weekend. Creatives gathered at Rosa Parks Circle to hear from Ari Herstand, the “poster child of the DIY music scene,” according to an interview with Forbes.
Much of his talk focused on the modern music industry, the topic he shares in his book, “How to Make It In The New Music Business.” What worked in the past for most successful artists no longer exists as a model, he insisted. Album sales are no longer the driving metric for success, labels are opting for short term, trend-based signing over artist development and the Internet has simultaneously made things more democratized for the average musician, while having a less clear way to define success. Pair that with a consumer understanding of the industry as either “starving artist” or “Taylor Swift-style super icon.”
He also spoke about the concept of “followers vs. fans,” which emphasizes a small, dedicated fan base that can sustain an artist’s career, citing examples such as Dodie and Amanda Palmer. He broke down aspects of Spotify’s algorithm while showcasing “waterfalling,” a technique used to game the Discovery Weekly and Release Radar playlisting by cycling new releases every four to six weeks and slowly trickling out an album on an ever-growing playlist. He also took time afterward to answer questions, take photos and offer last-minute advice and encouragement.
Email email@example.com for a copy of his slide show and a checklist for releasing an album. Herstand’s appearance at Confluence Festival was sponsored by Ferris State University, Michigan Music Alliance and others. – By Dutcher Snedeker
PHOTO GALLERY: KDL Vibes Fest at Cascade Township Branch Library
Photos by Holly Holtzclaw
Kent District Library’s first-ever “KDL Vibes Fest” over the weekend ramped up anticipation for the addition of about 40 new albums to the local streaming service this fall.
The Saturday-Sunday festival included acts that are already part of the Vibes catalog as well as acts that were a part of the most recent submission round.
The Wisner Center Stage at the KDL’s Cascade branch featured a range of acts that perfectly encompasses the diversity of the KDL Vibes catalog. Saturday afternoon’s performances included soulful singer-songwriter sets by Hannah Rose Graves and Rin Tarsy, an energetic full-band set from indie-rock’s Low Phase, and even an immersive comedy sketch experience interspersed with experimental music performances by Avocadsquad. The Saturday evening lineup concluded with sets from singer-songwriter Ralston Bowles and rock band Lazy Genius.
The Library Stage, placed right in front of the library’s main service desk, mimicked a listening room setup. This stage included instrumental guitar tunes from Christopher Heynig, whimsical folk by Rabbit Fur, and moody, acoustic tracks by Alex Perez.
The laid-back vibe of these performances allowed the library to continue with its normal operations while providing patrons with a pleasant soundtrack for their browsing. – By Holly Holtzclaw
PHOTO GALLERY: Babymetal, Dethklok, Jason Richardson
GLC Live at 20 Monroe in Grand Rapids
Photos by Anthony Norkus