After taking a year off, the popular and unusual competition featuring dozens of West Michigan acts is back. And Walk the Beat also is hosting a special benefit concert on Friday.
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After a year’s hiatus, Walk the Beat will return to Grand Haven’s East Side on Aug. 10, with shops and storefronts hosting musical performers from across the region.
“My favorite thing about the Walk the Beat Festival is the event is a great community partnership between businesses, volunteers, musicians, residents and guests,” said Bob Moore, director of Walk the Beat.
“(It’s) such a fun event that brings a focus to the East Side of Grand Haven. So far, the response from all parties has been very positive.”
Moore took over as director of Walk the Beat from Dave Palmer, who founded the organization, but announced early last year that the beloved celebration – with attendees strolling from venue to venue to catch dozens of performances – wouldn’t take place in Grand Haven in 2018. Instead the event was replaced last year by a single fundraising concert.
“It was like a death in the family,” Moore said. “A bunch of us got together and decided we would take up the mantle … and keep the festival going.”
The fifth Walk the Beat competition in August will once again have community attendees texting in their votes for their favorite bands or performers, with the winning act earning a robust prize package.
The nonprofit Walk the Beat raises money to assist students and other musical hopefuls in acquiring the instruments and musical education they need to express themselves creatively.
A BENEFIT CONCERT FOR INSTRUMENTS TO HELP THOSE IN NEED
The brainchild of Palmer – who stepped down to focus more heavily on his own projects as a singer-songwriter and musician – the nonprofit has grown in size and scope over the years. The group also donates used instruments to local schools and started music education programs in local juvenile detention facilities.
To raise money for the cause and generate excitement for this year’s Walk the Beat festival, the organization is once again hosting a February benefit concert at the Grand Haven Community Center. The concert at 7 p.m. Friday (Feb. 22) will feature performances by Palmer “and some more of his only friends” in a celebration of West Michigan’s music community.
Tickets are $25, with proceeds used to replenish the organization’s Repeat the Beat instrument fun. Get more details online here. Tickets available at Third Coast Recording, 1447 Washington Ave. in Grand Haven, or by calling Moore at 616-268-9346. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.
Moore said he’s thrilled that Walk the Beat is back on track because it’s “a great community partnership between businesses, volunteers, musicians, residents and guests,” he said.
“I think we’ll have most of the previous host venues and some new ones. We already have more volunteers than in previous years. Our formal band call will go out soon. I’m excited to see what new talent will emerge from this year’s event.”
‘A GREAT THING TO BE PART OF’ AND EDUCATING YOUTH
Grand Haven’s last Walk the Beat festival and competition in 2017 featured more than 50 acts rocking the city’s East Side on a single afternoon, with thousands of concertgoers ambling from venue to venue to vote for their favorite bands and register for door prizes. Grand Rapids funk/rock/reggae band Melophobix won the best band competition — earning a grand prize that included studio time at Third Coast — with “gypsycore” band Cosmic Knot taking home the prize for best song.
Winners in previous years include Marshall blues-rock phenomenon Jake Kershaw, Grand Rapids rock band The Legal Immigrants, Detroit’s Third Degree Burns and West Michigan Americana act Roosevelt Diggs.
“I’m hoping to sharpen our focus on the music education for youth,” Moore said. “We have a great opportunity to work with Third Coast Recording Company and introduce young folks to some great live music and to the recording process, and some of the other careers that support the music industry.”
Once Moore and his colleagues secure venues for the event, the organization will work out the process of taking applications from bands to perform in the competition. Moore said he plans to invite some returning performers, while recruiting plenty of new acts.
“Planning something like this gives me more than a few sleepless nights,” Moore said.
“But at the end of the day, when the music’s over and the last venue is cleaned up … it is always a great thing to be a part of. People come up to me all year-round and thank me for what we have done.”
The concept for Walk the Beat has spread beyond Grand Haven: Albion also has been staging its version of Walk the Beat, with last year’s event featuring 46 Michigan performers.
VIDEO: Dave Palmer & His Only Friends, “Standing in My Doorway”
VIDEO: Walk the Beat 2017, Grand Haven
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