For the second year in a row the Great Lakes Bay region is poised to explode with a brilliant flourish of artistic & musical activity as the PATCHWORK Art & Music Festival prepares to showcase 15 major events spread throughout venues in each of the Tri-Cities from May 4-13th, including seven concerts, multiple gallery receptions, film premiers, poetry slams, literary speakers, educational seminars and panels, comedy, wellness activities, and much more.
Showcasing over 50 different artists and a dozen mediums, PATCHWORK is a cacophony of delight that keeps things fresh and entertaining, featuring a musical line-up that represents every genre of music from pop and electronic to rock, punk, hip-hop, and hardcore, no stone is left unturned when it comes to providing something for just about everyone’s taste and affinity.
The brainchild of Counter Culture proprietors Ben Champagne & Curtis Dalton, PATCHWORK is an organic and evolving festival, diametrically opposed to the static traditional approach people usually associate with traditional music & art festivals. Developed in a response to the humongous festival culture, PATCHWORK can be viewed as the ‘Bounce House’ of festivals.
“While the larger scale festival has great qualities, we feel the best events are always the most intimate,” reflects Curtis. “By presenting different mediums of art and locating it in different venues and cities, PATCHWORK creates the appeal of a large festival with the feel of a small room show.”
“Last year’s inaugural festival exceeded our expectations, which gave us the ground to go a bit larger this year,” explains Ben. “Everything we set out to do with the festival went well last year, with the exception of the bigger show, which could have had a bit better attendance. But another good gauge is our social media presence, which sets the tone for how a lot of things work these days; and we got a lot of shares and love so were good with all of it.”
“We had approximately 1,200 people cycle through the various PATCHWORK events last year and our expectation was that we would draw around 700 to 800 people, so we saw more people attend than we thought we would get the first year,” adds Curtis.
With the 2017 incarnation of PATCHWORK, the team set out to fine tune and improve upon the foundation they laid in 2016 by expanding the scope of the festival. “This year we’ve brought to the table a line-up of artists from across the country, whereas last year we focused more on regional Michigan artists, most working the top levels of the national circuit, reflects Curtis.
“All of our big featured artists from last year are doing big things nationally now, with half of the line-up performing at the South by Southwest Festival this week, whereas this year we’ve got not only major national artists that hail from Michigan, but also have a few East Coast bands that made their rounds of the festival circuit at places like Bonnaroo and Lollapalooza.”
Indeed, this year’s main-frame festival show will be happening on Saturday, May 13th at The Red Room in Saginaw’s Dow Event Center and feature headliners Alex G, Nothing, and Sorority Noise, in addition to a stellar line-up that includes Jamaican Queens, Mat Kerekes, CloakRoom, Coud Rat, Stef Chura, The Obsessives, Black Noise, Mister, Forest Green, Braidedveins, Pines, HALA, Mover Shaker, and Backpacks, in addition to showcasing live art and a variety of vendors, with set design provided by artist Ryan Gregory.
“With 17 acts performing on the last day of the festival in the Red Room, we’ll have two stages with bands bouncing back and forth all day,” notes Curtis. “Things will kick off at 3 PM and we’ll feature constant music until 11:30 PM.”
“One of our goals this year was to diversify and bring in new people and this is also truth with the music we are showcasing,” notes Curtis. “We still have the same underground pop element as last year, but our headlining acts like Alex G, Nothing, Sorority Noise and CloakRoom bring a different element to the table that’s grungier and more rock based on the weirder side of the spectrum, but all are groups that the average Z-93 listener could enjoy, although they’re a bit quirkier than the types of bands featured on Z-93.”
“One of the main differences with the musical acts we are featuring is that last year, while each of our featured bands were all doing big things nationally, you could also have seen them the following weekend in Grand Rapids or Detroit,” states Curtis, “whereas with our headliners like Alex G, Jamaican Queens, and Frontier Ruckus, this year we have a lot of exclusive performances – PATCHWORK is the only time they’ll be playing in the state with the next six-month period, so we’ve had a lot of advance ticket sales and interest from across the state because of this.”
In addition to the main Red Room Saginaw show, PATCHWORK will be showcasing an ancillary Bay City showcase at The Masonic Temple on Saturday, May 6th, with headliners Frontier Ruckus (see accompanying interview in this special edition) along with The Go Rounds, Shady Groves and The Rupple Brothers & Company, with doors opening at 7 pm.
Other festival highlights that broaden the scope of PATCHWORK into the realms of film, art, and literature kick off on Thursday, May 4th with FUNHOUSE, which will be held at Counter Culture, 620 Gratiot Ave. in Saginaw, with doors opening at 6 pm and admission free to the public. Drawing cutting-edge visual artists from throughout the country, featured artists will include Killer Acid, Matt Crabe, Arrington De Dionyso, Rachel O’Donnell, Artsy Fart, Delilah Jones, Neil Gravander and Jim Cherewick, with sounds by DJ Ryan Spencer, Mango Lane, and Parts.
The following day on Friday, May 5th, artists King Median, Jefferson Beauregard, Remnose, Brites, and Leland Blue will be showcased at Creative 360 in Midland at 1517 Bayliss at 6 pm; followed with a world premier of a new documentary film by Alex Mixter about SAGINAW on Sunday, May 7th, which will be shown at Pit & Balcony Theatre at 5 pm, followed by an After-party at The Hamilton St. Pub at 9 pm that will feature Seth Patrick, Dante Lasalle, Peace To Mateo, Jaws That Bite, Gold Zilla w/ Eddie Logix and Learner.
A PatchWords Poetry Slam at The Red Eye in Saginaw will be happening on Monday, May 8th that starts at 8 pm, preceded by a Counter Cruise Group Bicycle Ride at 7 pm that kicks off at The Stable at 300 S. Hamilton; and then the first-ever Do It Yourself Speakers Panel will happen on Tuesday, May 9th in The Empire Room at Washington Lanes in Bay City at 7pm, which will consist of a panel of experts addressing the various methods and ways that people can empower themselves and make things happen through self-initiative.
“With both PATCHWORK and Counter Culture Ben and I are trying to inspire our communities in the Great Lakes Bay Region,” reflects Curtis. “If we held this festival down in Detroit it would be very successful financially in every way, and is a tougher sell up here; but the reason we are doing this is to inspire and motivate people to get off their couch and show them how anything is possible.”
“With our DIY Empire Room Speakers Panel, we want to feature not just people in music, but people in business and all variety of endeavor and have them discuss what it means to not have to follow the rules all the time and show how anybody can accomplish something if they put their mind to it,” echoes Ben. “Many people in our age group look at Curtis and me and say ‘How do you do all of this?’ And my response is, ‘Because we said we would and we did it. Everyone is empowered to do their own thing provided they have the commitment to make it happen.”
“Our area deserves the same cultural gifts that are rained on in Detroit and Grand Rapids,” adds Ben, “and while we see some good arena shows at the Dow Events Center, there’s a lot of music happening nationally that skips over us all the time. With the acts that we are featuring drawing so many ticket sales from out of town and everywhere throughout the state, this will enable people and businesses in town to see and feel the influx of fresh bodies and get more people in town on-board with what we are doing”
Wednesday, May 10th will bring us Yogaudio – a sensory experience involving Group Yoga with wild lights and music that will be hosted at Saginaw’s Bradley House Theatre at 403 S. Jefferson Ave at 7 pm; while Thursday, May 11th will feature Vital Sea – a showing at The Golden Gallery, 3rd St. in Bay City at 7 pm with featured artists Peach Faygeaux, Palomino Witchcraft and Lunar.
PATCHWORK After Hours will happen on Friday, May 12th at The Saginaw Art Museum, 1126 N. Michigan Ave., at 6 pm, which will be sponsored by WNEM TV-5 and will showcase various artwork featured by PATCHWORK festival artists along with a few musical acts; which all leads up to the PATCHWORK Grand Finale Concert at the Red Room on May 13th.
‘We’ll also be putting art up throughout different venues in all the cities where our various shows are featured, and will be staging installation pieces as well,” notes Ben. “We’ll have two different installation pieces in Saginaw, Bay City, Midland and Flint.”
“One important thing that we are very excited about is to have Shorts Brewing Company as our Presenting Sponsor this year,” adds Curtis. “They’ll be featuring some different beers they curate to fit the festival and will be present at The Red Room, Creative 360, and Pit & Balcony shows, which is also different, as last year almost all of our events were ‘dry’. Plus, they’ll be bringing some of their label art into the venues to showcase.”
“We also owe a huge debt of gratitude to all of our major festival sponsors, which include Catholic Federal, Graff Chevrolet of Bay City, Shaheen Development, The Saginaw Community Foundation, Lamson Humphreys Law Firm, Covenant Health Care, Glastender and Electric Kitsch.”
“We’re incredibly excited about the potential of this 2017 PATCHWORK Festival, concludes Curtis. “The festival this year compared to last year is ten times larger just with the content that we’ve managed to pull together; and we’re both hoping that we reach new levels of attendance and involvement.”
For more information and to purchase tickets for any of the PATCHWORK main featured musical events, please visit www.patchworkis.com