The last roundup for the southern Kent County music fest kicks up its hooves this weekend with MonoNeon, Dopapod, Sophistafunk, Joe Hertler and dozens more. The lowdown and schedule at Local Spins.
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West Michigan’s final Cowpie Music Festival also shapes up as “the biggest and most spectacular” yet say organizers who’ve lined up 50 diverse acts who’ll also pay tribute to iconic variety shows such as “American Bandstand” and “Soul Train.”
Kicking off Thursday at Shagbark Farm outside Alaska in southern Kent County, the three-day soiree on a working farm boasts high-profile sets by Massachusetts’ Dopapod, Tennessee’s MonoNeon, Michigan’s Tunde Olaniran and Joe Hertler & The Rainbow Seekers, New York’s Sophistafunk and a host of regional stars on three stages.
“We have expanded our budget for talent and production,” said Travis Compton, lead organizer of the long-running festival that will be re-branded as Shagbark Music Festival next year.
“We aim to cover as many genres as we can and we leave no stone unturned when looking for artists. I feel like we have succeeded in getting phenomenal local talent and topped it off with some headliners that are all very well respected among fans and musicians alike.”
Weekend passes are $175; daily tickets are $55 Thursday, $70 Friday and $85 Saturday. VIP ticket packages range from $150 to $850. Get tickets online here.
Joining national acts will be returning faves such as jam band Desmond Jones, vintage country’s The Bootstrap Boys, electronic rock’s Biomassive, rock’s The Legal Immigrants, funk’s Melophobix, soulful singer-songwriter Hannah Rose Graves, prog-rock/fusion’s Mungion and Grand Rapids hip hop artist Lady Ace Boogie, who produced the Soul Train Stage for Friday and also performs at 9:30 p.m.
“I can’t think of a single band on this lineup that won’t impress with their level of talent and passion,” Compton insisted. “We are incredibly honored to have MonoNeon, Tunde Olaniran, Dopapod and Joe Hertler & The Rainbow Seekers grace our stage. These bands are all simply incredible and each one is very unique.”
FAMILY ATMOSPHERE, ‘HAVE-FUN MENTALITY’ AND A BIG CHANGE FOR 2023
Performers will enhance their sets by paying tribute to iconic American musical variety shows such as “Soul Train,” “American Bandstand” and “Midnight Special.”
The final Cowpie will also boast sales of newly designed T-shirts by Ken Kidulas (leaning on the “Soul Train” theme), as well as beer and seltzer from Kalamazoo’s One Well Brewing.
In addition to music, the festival will feature an art gallery, puppet shows, fire dancers and pyrotechnic displays.
The much-beloved, family-friendly event has attracted a loyal audience over the years.
“Cowpie Music Festival has the best atmosphere and music selection of the Michigan music festivals,” insisted devoted festivalgoer Patrick Hnizda. “The family atmosphere, relaxed feel and have-fun mentality remind me every year that I have come to the right place with the right people.”
Still, Compton said it’s time to change things up for 2023, considering “Farmer” John Crissman launched the first Cowpie as a blues festival more than two decades ago.
“We are re-branding the festival as the Shagbark Music Festival because we feel as the venue has grown, we have grown as well and we don’t want to be associated with cow poop forever,” Compton.
“Shagbark is a name that more closely reflects the farm and emphasizes the historical nature of our venue. We also can’t sustain the current format that we have created for Cowpie and we feel that by starting fresh, we can create a more ergonomic format that will flourish.”
For now, though, sights are trained on making sure Cowpie goes out with a bang. And that means festivalgoers can plan on some unexpected treats as well.
“We have several surprises in store for our happy Cowpie compatriots to accompany our high level of production and beautiful surroundings,” vowed Compton.
Revisit Local Spins coverage of past Cowpie Music Festivals here.
COWPIE MUSIC FESTIVAL 2022: The Schedule
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