The Detroit area’s Third Degree Burns and Grand Rapids’ Roosevelt Diggs win the grand prizes in the unusual competition and music showcase. (Story, photo gallery, video)
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Proof of the success of Grand Haven’s second Walk the Beat music extravaganza on Saturday came in the form of hundreds and hundreds of people, yes, walking the beat in steamy hot weather in two different districts of this lakeshore community.
In the process, these folks got a chance to soak in the diverse live music of as many as 60 regional bands and solo artists – voting for their favorites by text – and celebrate the businesses and institutions that hosted the performances on temporary stages around town.
“It’s working out great,” beamed chief organizer Dave Palmer, who put 60 bands at 30 “venues,” from hardware stores to insurance agencies to car washes and even City Hall. “We’re getting the feel of that community effort. One person after another is going, ‘Incredible, Dave, incredible.’ But there were 400 to 500 people involved in this thing.”
It worked out particularly great on Saturday for two groups. Third Degree Burns, an ensemble of classic rocking teenagers from Oxford, Mich., took home the “best band” prize worth more than $10,000 after they topped all other performers in text voting by spectators who strolled from venue to venue to listen to alternating sets by bands and solo artists.
Grand Rapids-area Americana/folk/alt-country band Roosevelt Diggs, meanwhile, won the “best song” portion of the contest, determined by a panel of judges which included Palmer and Bill Chrysler, owner of a Grand Haven recording studio that served as the post-event celebration party and de facto headquarters for Walk the Beat. Roosevelt Diggs won a prize worth more than $7,000. Both prizes included recording time at Chrysler’s studio, production of a band video and more.
MORE CONCENTRATED PERFORMANCES; HAPPY, SWEATY BANDS
This year’s event took place in a more concentrated area than the 2014 Walk the Beat, which featured performances by 80 bands in locations around Grand Haven, Spring Lake and Ferrysburg. Saturday’s revamped music showcase put bands within several blocks of each other – one in the downtown area west of U.S. 31, and the other along Beechtree Street east of U.S. 31.
As a result, showgoers could more easily “walk the beat” and see more bands by strolling easily from venue to venue on the warm and sunny summer day. (Check out the video below.)
Singer-songwriter Gabrial James of Fruitport, called it “music’s ArtPrize” because it boasts some similarities to the art competition that takes over Grand Rapids in the fall every year with roving voters.
“This is a great event,” he said after playing next to Natalia’s Design on Seventh Street. “I think it’s cool because you get to meet new people and expose your music to people who haven’t been exposed to it.”
Other musicians agreed heartily, in spite of weather conditions that left many of them hot and sweaty.
“It’s been a riot,” said Levi Duddles of Roosevelt Diggs. “It’s awesome.”
Although participation numbers were still being tallied, thousands of people bought raffle tickets for prizes that were donated as part of Walk the Beat, and musicians and businesses made countless new contacts and fans as a result of Saturday’s unusual event.
Hundreds of performers, volunteers and sponsors attended the post-event party, which included live music – even a song by Palmer’s own band.
“It’s all about community,” said a grinning Palmer, who always seems to be grinning and who credited all of those who donated to the cause and volunteered to help out. “Everybody seems to be having a great time.”
PHOTO GALLERY: Walk the Beat 2015
Photos by Tori Thomas and John Sinkevics
Copyright 2015, Spins on Music LLC