Super Bowl weekend is about more than just a big football game: West Michigan boasted a couple of music festivals and tour stops by George Clinton, Blues Traveler, Trampa, Judy Collins, Morgan Wallen and more.
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Justin Timberlake (and maybe a hologram of Minneapolis’ favorite son Prince) will perform at halftime during the much-buzzed-about Super Bowl Sunday contest that has the New England Patriots (again) battling the Philadelphia Eagles in Minnesota.
But West Michigan enjoyed its own super weekend of music from Grand Rapids to Kalamazoo, with tour stops by iconic favorites such as George Clinton & The P-Funk All-Stars, Blues Traveler and Umphrey’s McGee, not to mention the crowd-igniting, dubstep revelry of Trampa. (Check out a separate Umphrey’s McGee review and photo gallery here.)
There were festivals representing opposite ends of the musical spectrum, too. Grand Rapids’ Tip Tip Deluxe Bar & Grill is hosting a three-day Winter Punk Fest with 15 hard-charging punk rock bands (which continues at 3 p.m. Sunday). In contract, the annual Cooper’s Glen music festival in Kalamazoo hosted by the Great Lakes Acoustic Music Association was all about acoustic glory, from folk to bluegrass.
Check out all the photo galleries and a recap of Cooper’s Glen below.
COOPER’S GLEN IN KALAMAZOO (Saturday)
A true musicians’ festival, featuring top-tier and budding musicians of all ages and at all stages, Cooper’s Glen attracted a small but decent crowd Saturday afternoon in Kalamazoo.
Hours before the Radisson Plaza began filling in for an evening of performances by the likes of Tom Paxton, Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper, The Don Julin Acoustic Trio and Cathy Fink & Marcy Marxer, attendees to the one-day festival had the opportunity to get up close and personal and learn from each of the aforementioned artists, while also taking the time to get together in the hotel halls and lobbies for impromptu picks with friends both new and old.
Paxton’s songwriting workshop was one of a couple standing-room only seminars on the afternoon as the 80-year-old singer songwriter shared secrets of the trade and fielded questions from multiple members of the audience, while swapping songs and stories with local artist Darcy Sahlgren Wilkin (Corn Fed Girls).
In addition to the workshops and picks, and a chance to browse the wares of numerous musical vendors, attendees also had a chance to get up on stage during a two-hour mid-afternoon open mic session that featured a little bit of country, a little bit of bluegrass and a whole lot of folk.
“There’s a whole lot of people out there that play music but don’t discover the joy of playing it together with other people in a way that they can really learn from,” said Mike Fleckenstein, a longtime volunteer with the Great Lakes Acoustic Music Association, which puts on the annual festival. “Our task at hand is really getting the word out.” – Ryan Boldrey
PHOTO GALLERY: Cooper’s Glen photos by Derek Ketchum
PHOTO GALLERY: Local Spins Wednesday and Thursday at SpeakEZ Lounge
Skyking photos by Anna Sink
Watching for Foxes photos by Erik Chapman
PHOTO GALLERY: Judy Collins at St. Cecilia Music Center (Thursday)
Photos by Bryan Esler