T Rex Fest: A One-Day Street Party with National Festival Attitude

One of the great parts about summertime in any city is street parties or festivals. Grand Rapids is fortunate to have these in steady supply, with events such as Festival of the Arts, Founders Fest, the Local First street party, and ArtPrize. This summer there's a newcomer to the scene, though. Downtown bar and venue, The Pyramid Scheme, will host T Rex Fest, a one-day festival on June 16.

T Rex Fest will happen in the streets outside The Pyramid Scheme, similar to Founders Fest. However, the lineup is something geared more for Lollapalooza or Bonnaroo than a local one-day street festival.

"[Iowa pop-comedy act] Leslie and the LYS are going to get T Rex started off right," said venue manager Nicole LaRae, who helped book most of the festival's acts. "They were great back in March at Pyramid Scheme."

Also within the T Rex Fest lineup is Detroit-area folk group Frontier Ruckus, Flint rapper Jon Connor, Brooklyn post-punk band The Men, Los Angeles progressive rock/jazz group El Ten Eleven and revolutionary hip-hop duo Dead Prez. Headlining is seminal indie favorite Pinback.

"[T Rex Fest] combines veterans with up-and-coming artists," LaRae said. "I believe if you are a music-lover ... T Rex Fest has something for everyone."

Jon Connor, dubbed "The People's Rapper," is one of several T Rex performers who has played the Pyramid Scheme before, opening for Danny Brown in November. Having received national attention and having put out three acclaimed mixtapes since then, Connor is ready to rock to a crowd of thousands.

"If I'm not sweating and my voice isn't gone ... I'm cheating people out of the price of admission," Connor said. "I love Grand Rapids. [Attendees] should be anticipating a Grammy-like performance. If it's anything less, then I'm disappointed in myself."

Aside from great music, T Rex Fest will also feature beer from Shorts Brewery. There will also be an after party in the venue section of Pyramid Scheme, featuring Brooklyn DJ/producer Party Supplies.

Photos: (Top) The Men, and (left) Pinback, photo by Drew Reynolds.