Hundreds of revelers and runners gathered outside the Comstock Park brewery Saturday for sets by The Crane Wives, Hacky Turtles, Melophobix and Crosscut Kings. Recap, photos, video at Local Spins.
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Despite the drizzle of wintry precipitation, Perrin Brewing’s Ice Jam Winter Festival in Comstock Park proved celebratory and uplifting on Saturday.
The fourth annual festival featured performances by Charlevoix’s Crosscut Kings and Grand Rapids favorites Melophobix, The Hacky Turtles and The Crane Wives.
Throughout the afternoon and evening, attendees wandered outside the brewery, sampled fare from local food trucks, and reveled in a massive heated tent where performances took place.
“I love music, I love beer and these guys here are family,” said Chas Appleby, standing just outside the tent with his friends Morgan Fegel and Bill Fegel. “Winters here are hard. You gotta find something fun to do and a reason to get outside.”
Festivities kicked off with the Frostbite 5k run at 2 p.m., followed by the first set of music from folk-Americana band, The Crosscut Kings.
The sprawling tent quickly filled with listeners, and by time Melophobix started its set, the environment felt almost like a portal to a summer festival. The Grand Rapids funk collective delivered a vibrant set with its seven-piece band, complete with horn section and auxiliary percussion.
Near the end of the set, the group invited Emilee Petersmark of The Crane Wives on stage as a guest vocalist for a couple of songs, including a soulful cover of “Valerie.”
‘REALLY NICE TO CELEBRATE WINTER’ WITH AMAZING SOUND, UPBEAT VIBE
The Hacky Turtles then grooved for its first performance since September with an epic set of originals that spanned rock, funk and rap. The five-piece outfit fueled a dance party out in the crowd with attendees shedding their winter layers to freely flail.
After the high-energy set, lead singer Marc Kanitz reflected on the evening while warming by a campfire.
“In West Michigan, there’s so many pockets of cities and cultures, being able to go outside of your city and bridging those gaps is important. It’s kind of like an open house that brings a lot of different circles in,” he said.
“The atmosphere was really attentive. I think the event is placed during a good time of year. Selfishly for us, we were just happy to be back playing. It’s a great event for us to do our thing. It’s fun and upbeat. Also being sandwiched between Melophobix and The Crane Wives feels like our Grand Rapids journey has come full circle.”
With nightfall came a slow drizzle of rain and a slight drop in temperature. Inside the tent, Murielle Garbarino and Taylor Bartz from Grand Haven were huddled at the foot of the stage where they spent the majority of the evening vibing to each band.
“I’m liking it a lot. The people here have been really cool. The sound is amazing. You can hear it all the way in the back too, when you’re grabbing a beer,” Bartz said as The Crane Wives began their soundcheck. “You can hear the music everywhere.”
“They did a really good job considering we’re in a tent right now,” Garbarino added.
As usual, The Crane Wives gave a riveting performance of foot-stomping originals. The Grand Rapids folk-rock band warmed up the still-buzzing crowd with heartfelt and hand-spun tunes, sharing stories and meanings behind various songs. The band’s finale even incorporated the horn section from Melophobix for a spectacular send-off.
“This was really fun. It’s nice to be back home,” said Kate Pillsbury of The Crane Wives, a few moments after the set.
“It’s really nice to celebrate winter because there’s so much of it left. It’s just really good to be home with a bunch of people who know how to have a good time. It was very festive and wonderful and we just had a blast playing.”
PHOTO GALLERY: Perrin Ice Jam 2020
Photos by Kendra Petersen-Kamp and Anna Sink
Video by Ricky Olmos and Anna Sink
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