The 13th Annual Sanford Lake Park Parkapaloopza Festival is our musical swansong to Summer and one of our region’s most celebrated gatherings, largely because it allows fans, friends, and families an opportunity to bask in the sun and soak up a bountiful array of activities and top-notch musical nourishment on a half-mile of lakefront with 1000 feet of soft sandy beach.
Happening this year on Sunday, September 10th from Noon to 9 PM at Midland County’s Sanford Lake Park, 415 Irish Street, park admission is only $6.00 per car, which goes to the Midland County Parks, while the concert and most activities are free. This year’s musical line-up consists of Marsupial Creampie, Civil Infraction, Barbarossa Brothers, Mandi Layne & The Lost Highway, The Sinclairs, Michael Robertson & The Broken hearted Saviors, Tweed & Dixie, and Burnaround – definitely an ‘A-List’ of regional entertainment.
Additionally, a host of family oriented activities coalesce around this annual funfest, which include a beach volleyball tournament, sand sculpting, a ‘make & take’ woodcrafts set-up courtesy of Home Depot, a Silent Auction, food vendors and much more. Beer and wine is allowed.
Presented by the DStreet Entertainment Foundation, which since the inception of the festival has donated well over $15,000 to various local charities; the principle focus of the organization is centered upon two major programs: The Band Wagon, which takes donated used musical instruments and refurbishes them to allow economically challenged families with talented children to further their musical explorations; and the DStreet Musical Scholarship program, which allows talented and musically engaged children to further their education in either college or trade school endeavors.
According to DStreet President Ed Kerns, “While 13 years does seem like a long time run for a music festival, we work pretty hard to keep things fresh while retaining those things people enjoy and have come to expect – not the least of which is still essentially a Free musical concert.”
“One of the subtle, but important things that is slowly evolving is the introduction of more original music at the festival,” adds Ed. “Parkapalooza has always been a show where you could hear your favorite bands play your favorite songs. We want it to be a sing-along, clap-along, dance-along event. Recently though, our area has experienced a boon of really good songwriters crafting some really exceptional songs. We are blessed to have some of those artists in our lineup and I know our guests will hear some fantastic new music along with their favorite covers.”
“We also try to keep things lively on other fronts. Last year we introduced a sand volleyball tournament to the mix and we will expand on that this year. We have some new ideas for kids’ activities that we will unveil. In addition, Home Depot’s Make and Take woodcrafts will be there, plus we’ll have a box city from the Midland recyclers for the little ones, The annual sand sculpting competition, puppies and Kitties from the Humane Society - all in all, a veritable three ring circus of fun!”
“The band lineup at Parkapalooza is always decided on by our entire board,” notes Ed. “Basically 9 people in a room with a whiteboard trying to build our dream team of bands. We always disagree but the criteria are simple: we want great bands who are not only exceptional musicians, but exceptional entertainers. We want to represent a variety of musical genres and we want all the music to be appropriate for an audience from kids to seniors. Occasionally DStreet is criticized for not using more new bands or bands from a specific geographical area, but that’s not what this event is about. This is about offering our audience (and our sponsors) the very best. Without question, we’ve done that this year.”
“We are so grateful to have such a strong lineup. There is not a band on the list that needs Dstreet or Parkapalooza for ‘exposure’, yet all have agreed to volunteer their considerable talents in support of the Dstreet mission. That is humbling for our organization, and we take our responsibility to ‘pay it forward’ very seriously.”
“The Parkapalooza Festivals are typically the only fundraisers DStreet produces each year and we do two of them,” notes Ed. “In June we host The Labadie Bay City Parkapalooza in Wenonah Park and of course the Sanford festival is always the Sunday after Labor Day at Sanford Lake Park. Both are free concerts that are financially supported through commercial sponsorships.”
“We are actively searching for a name sponsor in Sanford, but Chemical Bank, Preferred Chiropractic, Advanced Arborist and The Miller Insurance Agency have generously stepped forward to help support the festival. Bay City is a relatively new festival at just 3 years old and financially it is about a break even proposition. Sanford Parkapalooza in recent years usually nets about five or six thousand dollars after expenses. The money is raised not only through sponsorships, but from our Silent Auction, 50/50 raffles, festival shirt sales and donations. Sadly, a thunderstorm on the day of the festival can greatly affect those numbers!”
“Even without the fundraising aspect, the Parkapalooza festivals are important to DStreet’s mission. One of the legs of our mission statement is to produce low or no cost music events. We are very proud of the fact that a family can walk into either Palooza festival and enjoy an entire day of quality live music and activities, and not spend a dime. That is our service to the community.”
“All of the money raised by DStreet returns to the community in the forms of musical scholarships, The BandWagon Musical Instrument lending library, support of the A.M.P. (All Music is Power) program, and other initiatives. We are an entirely volunteer organization and no one draws a salary.”
“One of the lesser known Dstreet initiatives is what we call the Dstage. It is a custom built 16’x20’ mobile stage that is available to rent for local events. Catholic Federal Credit Union sponsors the stage and allows us to keep the rental costs low and even sometimes free for events that benefit the Great Lakes Bay area. With the Dstage it’s possible to do a pop up concert anywhere, from a street corner to a corn field. It was most recently used at the River Rising benefit jam to assist flooding victims.”
“One of the awkward things about working with a nonprofit organization is it seems like you always have your hand out for something,” concludes Ed. “At DStreet we always need help. We need volunteers and we need auction donations. We need sponsors and we need volleyball players. We need musical instrument donations and sand sculptors. Mostly we need people who believe that music makes a positive difference in the quality of life and are willing to help – even if that help is only attending our shows and other live music events.”
“We invite anyone interested to check us on Facebook or www.dstreet.org”