Local Spins previews the unique Saturday event taking place on Grand Haven’s East Side, with 56 Michigan bands and solo acts performing while music lovers stroll from venue to venue. The schedule & details.
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Hundreds of music lovers will “Walk the Beat” on Saturday in Grand Haven while several dozen Michigan bands strut their stuff on stage.
The much-beloved Walk the Beat Festival returns to the city’s East Side, with performances at more than two dozen venues of all kinds along the Beechtree Street corridor.
While 2023 represents Becky Newman’s first year at the helm as president of Walk the Beat — a Grand Haven-based nonprofit — she already has years of experience participating as a member of the WTB family, helping ensure the success of the organization’s largest annual fund-raising community event.
After serving as WTB’s secretary for five years, Newman took the reins after former president Bob Moore retired. And she’s grateful for the strong core of board members that has worked so hard to serve the organization’s mission.
“It’s great to be able to work for something I feel so strongly about,” she said. “It’s a lot of effort, but totally worth it, to help grow the community through music.”
With funds raised from Walk the Beat and other events, the organization provides opportunities for kids in need and fuels their musical ambitions. The nonprofit refurbishes old instruments and puts them into the hands of kids who might need them, as well as offering scholarships and music lessons (with local performing artists serving as instructors).
Saturday’s festival will feature afternoon performances by 56 bands or solo artists. Attendees can travel between venues, and text-vote for their favorite performers. The winning act will earn recording time at Third Coast Recording Co.
Concertgoers, meanwhile, get a chance to win prizes along the way, with a raffle boasting a grand prize of $5,000.
“I think the most rewarding part of everything is the actual event,” Newman said. “Looking down the Beechtree corridor, seeing the street and every venue packed on a Saturday afternoon, with so many people just exploring music and having a great time. It’s so family-oriented. You can see kids really taking to the event, perpetuating their love for music. It’s great for everyone, spanning so many musical genres. There’s something for everyone!”
Newman noted that performers range from “professional touring musicians to young people who are just starting out, just learning to perform,” adding that the participates also get to enjoy each other’s music.
Walk the Beat boasts another attraction this year, too: The Creative Cube accessible mobile arts studio will be parked outside the Rainy Days Cafe lot from 10 a.m.- 1 p.m. The accessible studio space, a service of Artists Creating Together (ACT) based in Grand Rapids, holds drop-in events all over West Michigan and beyond.
Saturday’s visit from the Creative Cube will help Walk the Beat kick off next year’s poster design contest. This year’s contest was won by 13-year-old Sophia Sherman.
Newman added that for many businesses, Walk the Beat represents their best day of the year in terms of sales.
“West Michigan musical artists, and for local Grand Haven businesses, and offering something special to the local community, all of that adds up to something truly great. It’s a three-for-one deal.”
(Editor’s Note: “Gimme a Beat,” a kickoff concert originally planned for Friday evening has been postponed to September. Also, another Walk the Beat event takes place in Albion on Aug. 26.)
WALK THE BEAT MUSIC FESTIVAL – GRAND HAVEN
WHEN: 1-5 p.m. Saturday (Aug. 12)
WHERE: Beechtree Street Corridor on Grand Haven’s East Side
34 miles (38 minutes) from Grand Rapids
84 miles (1 hour, 21 minutes) from Kalamazoo
190 miles (3 hours, 5 minutes) west of Detroit
100 miles (1 hour, 35 minutes) from Lansing
143 miles (2 hours, 49 minutes) south of Traverse City
QUOTE: “I am honored that Walk the Beat is still rocking it out. Shows how just a thought that two people (myself and Ric VanWeelden) discussed, sitting around a small table, can come to life. Thanks to all the volunteeers that make it happen.” – Dave Palmer, co-founder and former president of Walk the Beat
WEATHER FORECAST (as of Aug. 10): High of 79 degrees; mostly sunny and humid
ADMISSION: Free. Raffle tickets optional; $10 to enter a drawing for $5,000 grand prize raffle. Raffle tickets also are available for door prizes, with drawing entry buckets located around the various business host sites.
GRAND HAVEN WALK THE BEAT 2023 SCHEDULE
Copyright 2023, Spins on Music LLC