Halloween weekend amid 2020’s crisis is not what West Michigan has come to expect, with closed venues and canceled shows. But Grand Rapids hip hop acts still fired a final musical salvo at Studio Park.
CHECK OUT AN UPDATED LIST OF HALLOWEEN EVENTS IN THE BIG LIST CONCERT GUIDE
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Falling like dominos, some Halloween celebrations in the Grand Rapids area have bitten the dust this weekend due to an ongoing COVID-19 crisis — a crisis which seems to demonstrate that music and masks don’t always jibe.
An already skimpy lineup of pandemic-impaired holiday gatherings got even smaller when Holland’s Park Theatre on Thursday announced cancellation of its Saturday night “Mel-O-Ween” party with Grand Rapids funk/rock band Melophobix “due to the recent uprise of COVID-19 cases in Allegan, Ottawa and Kent Counties.”
Then, the Garage Bar & Grill in Grand Rapids announced Friday that its planned “Halloween Spookytacular” street party on Saturday night with Hot Carl & The Cleveland Steamers was being canceled due to new state restrictions on outdoor gatherings.
Owner Kevin Farhat told Local Spins that new Michigan Department of Health and Human Services guidelines for outdoor gatherings limit capacity to 50 “if you don’t have fixed seating” for attendees.
Elsewhere, bands playing Saturday night Halloween shows at Wildwood Family Farms in Alto and River City Saloon in Grand Rapids pulled out of their scheduled performances, with River City putting out a call for a replacement band on Facebook and Wildwood Family Farms planning to move ahead with its 7 p.m. Halloween party with a new act, The OMB Band, performing instead of BareNaked ’90s.
On the flip side, The B.O.B.’s “Maskerade Ball” set for its entertainment venue in downtown Grand Rapids is still a go for Saturday night, with doors opening at 8 p.m. and the party officially starting at 10 p.m., with DJs on all four floors and the usual costume contest. Details here.
The venue noted on Facebook that it’s received “several questions” about the party, but “the event will otherwise move forward as planned” with individual tables not allowed to seat more than six people. The B.O.B. also has made it clear that masks are required and no dancing will be permitted.
For an updated list of live music events on Halloween night, browse The Big List Concert Guide.
Despite all of the challenges and the cold weather, the final “Listening Lawn” show of the year — hosted by Listening Room outdoors at Studio Park — came off without a hitch on Friday night after being postponed for inclement weather a week earlier.
About 70 socially distanced concertgoers cheered sets by hip hop artists Callab (celebrating release of his new album, “Assorted 61X Pack”), The Mel V Collective, Rijiri and special guests such as Lady Ace Boogie and JRob.
“Great way to end our outdoor season with such artists from right here in West Michigan,” said Quinn Mathews, general manager and talent buyer for Listening Room. “It felt like a nice safe summer with live music on our listening lawn at Studio Park and we plan to continue next year.”
PHOTO CALLERY: Callab, The Mel V Collective & more at Studio Park
Photos by Anthony Norkus