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Yankee Fan

Festival of the Arts- Downtown Grand Rapids

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It's that time of year, again. How many are planning on going to Festival?

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Contra dancing. Adult Involvement (above 300 N Monroe, nestled between City, County, 5/3, and the drop-over to DVP). Saturday 8:45 pm. No partner needed (we'll find you one). Great live music, and a friendly patient caller who possess an inimitable style of teaching and sense of humor (even if the program got both names wrong).

Also, note the bike park at Lyon and Ottawa. Free. Why drive?

ETA: if you're into buying local...the Friends will be open until MIDNIGHT Fri & Sat, and on Sunday until 5 pm if memory serves.

Last year Sam was open every day, too.

Mmmmm...Sunday on MC, a parasol, a plate of tabbouli, the Freep...

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I'll be at festival all weekend, I'm looking forward to the food!!

The bike parking is actually a block up at Lyon and Ottawa...and don't forget to pick your bike up on Sunday evening!

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I went last night, after the rainstorm in the afternoon.

Things seemed to dry off quickly and Festival picked up the pace after the rain pretty fast.

I only hit up the mozz sticks stand because I'd eaten earlier, but I'll be heading back tonight if the rain stops here and sample a bit more food.

Other than that, stuck around for Left Hand Daisy (a friend's brothers played in it) and the Mustard Plug show.

Even the scensters were ska kids last night. Haha, but things really did get a bit crazy there. Luckily, no injuries to my knowledge.

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I went Friday after work (and twice during work!) and Saturday we arrived just after the rain around 6:00 pm. We were excited the festival didn't completely shut down after the rain; however, we came to see a specific act, and the schedules were all screwed up due to the rain, which is understandable. Potato Moon cancelled the show, so we were bummed, but we still hung out for a few hours.

One thing I'm really surprised about is that there is not really a vendor section. I think it would be cool if they had a block dedicated to jewelry/clothing vendors at the Festival (all the way to Monroe Center and Division or else in the area surrounding the Pavillion area to really round out the space). I think people come to Festival ready to spend money, and many, many consumers may not be able to buy a work of art, but a heck of a lot of people can buy a silver ring or skirt!

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I went Friday after work (and twice during work!) and Saturday we arrived just after the rain around 6:00 pm. We were excited the festival didn't completely shut down after the rain; however, we came to see a specific act, and the schedules were all screwed up due to the rain, which is understandable. Potato Moon cancelled the show, so we were bummed, but we still hung out for a few hours.

One thing I'm really surprised about is that there is not really a vendor section. I think it would be cool if they had a block dedicated to jewelry/clothing vendors at the Festival (all the way to Monroe Center and Division or else in the area surrounding the Pavillion area to really round out the space). I think people come to Festival ready to spend money, and many, many consumers may not be able to buy a work of art, but a heck of a lot of people can buy a silver ring or skirt!

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ive decided that the festival is very lame... its more of an expensive but poor quality food stand with bad cover bands playing music for little girls' music recitals. I wass terribly dissapointed.

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ive decided that the festival is very lame... its more of an expensive but poor quality food stand with bad cover bands playing music for little girls' music recitals. I wass terribly dissapointed.

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There are usually trinket vendors in the Art Tent. But really, I think the art tent should be expanded to be more like a real art exhibit, and there should be a separate vendor area.

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I agree with you Dad, while the Ann Arbor art fest is a whole 'nother deal, it would seem there are plenty of Michigan artists around to make this event a little more "art" driven than the art of stuffing your face with grub...

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Having worked at the Ann Arbor Art Festival for several years, I agree that Ann Arbor is a whole other ballgame, and that, given the pool of talent, there should be more art at GR's Festival. However, I enjoy the GR Festival's focus on both music and art you'd traditionally think would be at an art festival. Going through the 'Art Tent' it definitely seemed very crafty, which is not necessarily my taste. While I am in the market for some modern/abstract 'office art', I would've happily spent around $100 at a few jewelry kiosks, had there been more to choose from. I think the Festival is really missing out on the consumer/Festival attendee who wants to just buy some crap. :)

At the Ann Arbor Art Festival, there is always some ULO (ugly lawn ornament) that nearly every attendee ends up buying (which is affectionately referred to as 'Sh*t on a Stick'). I always saw the Sh*t on a Stick as a way for people to take part of the Art Festival home with them without having to shell out for a pricey art piece. I never thought I'd say this, but the GR Festival of the Arts meeds more opportunities for people to buy Sh*t on a Stick!

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There are usually trinket vendors in the Art Tent. But really, I think the art tent should be expanded to be more like a real art exhibit, and there should be a separate vendor area.

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I attended (and played at) the very first Festival in 1970, and several after it, but haven't been back since about 1980. But if I still lived in the old home town, I would attend. I love the fact that you can see a bunch of middle school kids in a choir, or Irish dancing, or whatever. The Festival is not only for the audience, it is for the participants. These kids are thrilled to be performing and if the arts are going to have any future, we need to support the young.

Good for GR that the Festival still packs them in after 37 years.

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ive decided that the festival is very lame... its more of an expensive but poor quality food stand with bad cover bands playing music for little girls' music recitals. I wass terribly dissapointed.

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I have to ask when you went to the festival this year? There were very few "Cover Bands", at least in the rock/pop genre. Although I agree that in the world of Jazz and Blues each group tends to do at least 20%-50% covers. If you went down Saturday morning/early afternoon, that was your problem, that is the time when families tend to go and the schedule reflects that. If you couldn't find something good after 5:00pm Friday or Saturday, then you must have been trying to find fault because the lineup was pretty damn good.

The art tent is for Art vendors/quasi-crafters, if you were looking for a more formal art exhibit/sale, you should have gone to the "Regional Arts Exhibit" at the old GR Art Museum. That was the juried art show where at least 70-80% of the art was for sale.

Well there are two issues here. First, the talent pool for the GR Festival is limited (by the organization by-laws) to Kent County and the surrounding 7 counties. So it doesn't pull from as far as the Ann Arbor fest which is nationwide.

Second, The GR festival is an attempt to display all arts (culinary, musical, visual, film & video), and, as with any multi-focus project, it sacrifices depth in any one area in order to provide a breadth of options. The Ann Arbor Fest is strictly 2d/3d physical art and crafts and as a result, you get much more depth and quality.

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Welcome elitts! Seriously though, maybe this will change with the new GRAM, but how in the world would anyone know that the current GRAM was part of Festival? Unless you were studying the map very carefully, no one. They even had the street barricades blocking the way to GRAM and virtually no signage telling people on Ottawa that GRAM was open or part of the show.

I wish we had more quality of over quantity though. It seems like there are enough talented 2d/3d artists in the 7 county area to make a more "art festival". We had discussed on this site that perhaps a separate genuine art festival is in order (?) I know S. Division had an art hop, that maybe will grow to be large in the future.

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Welcome elitts! Seriously though, maybe this will change with the new GRAM, but how in the world would anyone know that the current GRAM was part of Festival? Unless you were studying the map very carefully, no one. They even had the street barricades blocking the way to GRAM and virtually no signage telling people on Ottawa that GRAM was open or part of the show.

I wish we had more quality of over quantity though. It seems like there are enough talented 2d/3d artists in the 7 county area to make a more "art festival". We had discussed on this site that perhaps a separate genuine art festival is in order (?) I know S. Division had an art hop, that maybe will grow to be large in the future.

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Well, this is a problem that the festival has. Since I'm assuming most people don't know, the festival is now officially run by a board, but, there is a core group of about 2 dozen families and thier children that have been running the festival for the past 38 years. This is mostly because the time requirement is huge and there aren't all that many people willing to commit the time on a volunteer basis. (new people are always welcome though)

So, those of us in the younger generations are looking for ways to revitalize and advertise the festival, (as well as fund it in the face of city budget cuts) better signage and better publicity are two of the most crucial things we are working on. But, as with any generational organization, change is very very slow.

So, while I'm always open to suggestions, the one I have for you is: volunteer!! Every new person we get into the organization is a chance for a new idea and another potential blow against the massive wall that is "TRADITION". (insert ominus music)

How about making the art vendors a juried system? That way you get good stuff!

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