Lamp Light Music Festival
Eastown Neighborhood, Grand Rapids
Last summer, Grand Rapids resident John Hanson and a crew of DIY-minded organizers came to the realization they had all the right pieces for putting together a righteous music festival.
None of these ideas were a big budget, third-party venue or obstreperous crowd. Instead, they found their capital in the wellspring of artistic lifeblood in Grand Rapids' Eastown neighborhood and built Lamp Light Music Festival. About to kick off its second year, Lamp Light features more than 25 acts over three days, from Friday, Nov. 1 to Sunday, Nov. 3.
"The conditions were right for this thing to be born," Hanson said. "I had a few friends who lived in the neighborhood who were already doing house shows, I had bands coming to me looking for shows and it was really just a matter of consolidating and celebrating this great time of year together."
Hanson, with a network of friends and musicians in the Midwest and experience as a board member at the Division Avenue Arts Collective, said putting it all together is rewarding for both artist and organizer.
"Organizing an event like this is fun, and it's really incredible to work in an environment with a strong community of artists, thinkers, movers and shakers."
The shows are hosted in five different houses in Eastown: the Bird House at 622 SE Benjamin St., the Hen House at 520 SE Benjamin St., the Neighborhood House at 1351 SE Sigsbee St., the House of Pancakes at 1241 SE Sigsbee and the Wafflehouse at 1237 Sigsbee.
Just like festivals that utilize multiple stages, there's some overlap between set times, but shows start at 7 p.m. on Friday, noon on Saturday and 1 p.m. on Sunday (check lamplightmusicfestival.com/schedule for the full lineup).
Among those performing are Breathe Owl Breathe, the Soil and the Sun, Antrim Dells, Rick Chyme, Valentiger, Mexican Cobalt Wolves, Brontosaurus and a whole slew of other local and regional acts, from sweeping folk to dancey-pop – hell, even a band described as "a Spaghetti-Western cooked in the ovens of Detroit" (see Flint Eastwood). Hanson said getting to see some of West Michigan's talent up close and personal offers a pretty unique experience.
"I'm really pumped for the Soil and the Sun because I've never seen them stripped down before," Hanson said. "I'm excited for Ghost Heart, one of my favorite Grand Rapids bands who have a new album coming out soon, and I'm excited for up-and-coming Kalamazoo artist Samantha Cooper."
In addition to the tunes, Lamp Light also features food from local farms, handcrafted art, woodcuts and leatherwork from local Eastown vendors and boasts a zero-waste environment. The festival will also be introducing a series of DIY lifestyle workshops throughout the weekend and an additional Sunday morning brunch concerts, which Hanson said were a big hit at the first LLMF.
"Last year was a great success, so much fun and inspiration," Hanson said. "We all ate together, laughed and shared music and good times. Basically what life is all about – genuine exchanges."
Visit lamplightmusicfestival.com for more information and ticket prices.