From an iconic hip-hop act to massive crowds at Eastown Streetfair to fetching sets in Lowell, Kalamazoo, Holland & Muskegon, it was a hyper-active mid-September week. Photos, videos at Local Spins.
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When the live music memory book flashes back to 2023, mid-September will stand out as one of the most robust, last-blast-of-summer spectacles that West Michigan has ever experienced.
Grand Rapids alone hosted the Eastown Streetfair, African American Art & Music Festival, Sullivan Field’s Ballpark Jam and the Hal Beveridge Music Festival.
The Lowell area boasted boasting bluegrass and folk at the Fallasburg Arts Festival and West Michigan Bluegrass Music Association’s FallFest.
Muskegon, meanwhile, continued to kick up its heels at the Michigan Irish Music Festival and Kalamazoo reveled in diverse music ranging from the Krelboynes’ album-release show at Bell’s Eccentric Cafe to Delilah DeWylde outside State Theatre to Eliot Lewis at Old Dog Tavern.
And Holland closed out the weekend with a sold-out show starring Swedish guitarist Yngwie Malmsteen.
Relive the action in photo galleries, videos and more at Local Spins.
The biggest crowds in recent memory flocked to the 50th edition of the Eastown Community Association’s Eastown Streetfair in Grand Rapids’ East Side neighborhood on Saturday.
Throngs filled Wealthy Street and surrounding side streets as folks browsed numerous vendor booths and music fans cheering an extensive lineup of regional artists, including Valentiger, Potatoe Babies, Big Timmy & The Heavy Chevys, Euro-K and more.
PHOTO GALLERY: Eastown Streetfair
Photos by Anthony Norkus and John Sinkevics
AFRICAN AMERICAN ART AND MUSIC FESTIVAL
With the legendary, pioneering hip-hop group Sugarhill Gang headlining Friday night’s celebration of the 50th anniversary of hip hop, this year’s African American Art and Music Festival at Grand Rapids’ Rosa Park Circle exuded the vibe of a true cultural milestone event.
The celebration continued Saturday with DJs, dance performances and more live music.
On Friday, Lady Ace Boogie, a staple of the Grand Rapids hip-hop scene, warmed up the sizable crowd with an empowering and high-energy full-band set. She also shared the stage with a number of special guests, allowing each one a moment in the spotlight. In-between sets, audience members were anything but bored as classic hip-hop hits and popular dance songs pumped through the speakers.
The Sugarhill Gang solidified their place in hip-hop history when their 1980 hit, “Rapper’s Delight,” became the first rap song to hit the Top 40 chart. The group played this and many more of their classic hits for an energetic, all-ages crowd that was lined up all the way across the barricade.
Even those who were less familiar with The Sugarhill Gang’s iconic history were able to sing along when the group broke into hits from other well-known artists including Prince, The Jackson 5 and Tina Turner. The group preached love and positive vibes above all throughout the set, proclaiming: “The greatest joy I have is to be able to bring joy to other people all over the world through our music.” – By Holly Holtzclaw
PHOTO GALLERY: African American Art and Music Festival
Photos by Holly Holtzclaw and Joshua Tufts
MICHIGAN IRISH MUSIC FESTIVAL
The Michigan Irish Music Festival at Muskegon’s Heritage Landing electrified
big audiences on Days 2 and 3 with vibrant performances by the likes of Eileen Ivers, Socks in the Frying Pan, Slide, The Moxie Strings and more.
The festival wraps up today. Get the schedule and more here.
PHOTO GALLERY: Michigan Irish Music Festival (Days 2 and 3)
Photos by Tim Reilly