Saturday will mark the third year for this unusual benefit that showcases regional artists vying for big prizes, with concertgoers getting a chance to win, too. See the list of venues, performers.
SCROLL DOWN FOR ROSTER OF VENUES/PERFORMERS THAT CAN BE SAVED ON YOUR PHONE, ALONG WITH A LOCAL SPINS LIVE ON 1340 AM WJRW RADIO PODCAST FEATURING DAVE PALMER AND LOREN JOHNSON.
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Kevin DePree performed at Grand Haven’s first Walk the Beat event two years ago, playing drums with accompanying electronic effects.
On Saturday, he returns to Walk the Beat, but this time around, he’s not alone.
The drumming instructor will bring three of his students along, after the group camped out earlier this month at the Coast Guard Festival to play for passersby and their act caught on. The shtick went viral, even getting featured on a local news station.
Now, the Grand Haven Bucket Drummers are ready to pound it out for Walk the Beat.
“It was excellent, the first time I performed at Walk the Beat,” DePree said. “And I expect it will be much bigger this year. They already have a record amount of ticket sales, in their pre-sale alone. And they are raising money for music, which is great.”
Walk the Beat 2016, a free one-day event open to the public, will take place at 36 different venues around Grand Haven from 1-5 p.m. Saturday, with 72 musical acts performing. The bands and solo performers each have a designated venue to play, and fans and attendees can walk from one venue to the next, sampling whatever music they like along the way.
Fans are encouraged to use their phones to text votes for their favorite bands. The winner of voting for best band will win a huge prize bundle, including 40 hours of production and recording time with Bill Chrysler at Grand Haven’s Third Coast Recording Company, as well as free professional music video, photo shoot and website.
Walk the Beat also conducts a separate competition for best song. The artist chosen by a panel of experts for best song from submitted entries will win their choice of $2,500 in cash or 40 hours of production and recording time at Third Coast.
The winners will be announced during a 5:30-8:30 p.m. after-party at Third Coast on Saturday.
FANS CAN WIN PRIZES, TOO, WITH HUNDREDS OF VOLUNTEERS HELPING OUT
Attendees can get into the prize-winning fun, too, with each venue doling out door prizes such as bicycles, TVs, stereos, fishing kits, kayaks, tablets and more. And those buying $10 raffle tickets have a shot at a $5,000 grand prize.
The event has grown considerably, noted Dave Palmer, founder and executive director of Walk the Beat, which sold 1,500 raffle tickets the first year, 2,400 the second and more than 3,200 tickets already this year. He’s convinced that after the Coast Guard Festival, Walk the Beat may become the second most recognized event in Grand Haven.
“We have about 500 people volunteering with this event,” Palmer said. “The idea is, as the event grows, we can sell more tickets, and it can be even bigger next year. We are even working on a program to help spread this event to other cities in the area. We would like to join forces with others throughout the area to make Michigan ‘The Music State.’ ”
Palmer said fans walking into venues will find both a band and solo performer playing on a rotating basis. You can go anywhere between the venues, in either direction. Many of the venues as businesses will have pop or hot dogs, and have games going.
As a young, up-and-coming singer-songwriter, Loren Johnson appreciates the supportive, networking aspect of Saturday’s unusual Walk the Beat.
“The event is such an excellent catalyst for local musicians and businesses to make connections and get themselves and their products out there,” said Johnson, 20, of Grand Haven, who plays Walk the Beat for the second year in a row, performing at Floyd’s Tire & Auto Repair, 482 S. Beechtree St.
PODCAST: Local Spins Live with Loren Johnson & Dave Palmer
Opportunities for making new connections are plentiful because sponsoring venues range from car repair shops to bars to eateries to parks, and participating musicians aren’t just based along the lakeshore and in the Grand Rapids area, but come from as far away as the Upper Peninsula and Wisconsin.
“The biggest change this year would have to be the hosts, the venues that host the musical acts,” Palmer said. “They are realizing this is a big deal, and they are upping their game now, too. They all have put their best foot forward.”
Walk the Beat not only pays all the performers but has a mission to enrich lives through music: Donations, sponsorships and money raised through the August event allow the organization to donate instruments, arrange lessons or provide financial assistance for musical ventures to those in need.
“What makes it stand out from other events is that the proceeds collected truly go straight back into the music, whether through supplying instruments and lessons for those who wouldn’t otherwise have access to such, or funding other events for local and upcoming musicians,” Johnson said. “It’s a really special event.”
DePree and his Grand Haven Bucket Drummers – Dom Jerovsek, Logan Vegh and Charlie Casey – are excited to play City Farmer, at 1437 Washington Ave., as part of Walk the Beat.
“It is fantastic having somewhere so close by where performers can play and be supported by so many people,” DePree said. “It also gives family and friends a chance to cheer them on. Giving kids a chance to play, and to interact with each other and on such a big scale, is pretty great.”
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