Royal OakAugust 6, 2012
Bevy of national acts to grace stage at Arts, Beats & Eats
By Chris Jackett
C & G Staff Writer
ROYAL OAK — With the musical acts and restaurants participating at Ford Arts, Beats & Eats later this month recently announced, local residents can officially get hyped up about the 15th annual festival, now in its third year in Royal Oak.
Local dignitaries and event organizers met Aug. 1 at Emagine Theatre in Royal Oak to announce a large lineup of musicians and several new restaurants featured during the festival Aug. 31-Sept. 3.
“We certainly hope for a little bit cooler start to the event,” said Jonathon Witz, the festival’s producer. “My expectations are high since we have our footing in Royal Oak now.”
Highlighting the festival’s musical lineup are Mayer Hawthorne & The County at 8 p.m. Aug. 31, G. Love & Special Sauce at 10 p.m. Aug. 31, REO Speedwagon at 9:30 p.m. Sept. 1, Travis Tritt at 6 p.m. Sept. 2, The Guess Who at 9:30 p.m. Sept. 2 and a jam-packed final day Sept. 3 that includes Pistol Day Parade at 3 p.m., Saving Abel at 4:30 p.m., Theory of a Deadman at 5:15 p.m. and Morris Day & The Time at 8:15 p.m.
“I do think it is one of our stronger lineups,” Witz said. “We’re thrilled with who we have. REO Speedwagon is the biggest budgeted act we’ve ever had. Morris played the first year with us. He puts on the same kind of show he did 15 years ago.”
He said efforts to bring the B-52s and Indigo Girls fell through, but there’s potential for next year.
“We had a commitment from the B-52s on opening Friday night,” Witz said. “They’re certainly someone we’ll try to get next year.”
Mayor Jim Ellison said he became a fan of Vince Gill last year after attending Gill’s concert at Arts, Beats & Eats.
“You go there and sit in on the concerts and you’ll find something you’ll like,” said Ellison, who doesn’t usually listen to country music. “I think it’s a great lineup this year.”
Among the more than 170 local bands and musicians chosen from more than 300 applicants to play throughout Labor Day weekend are regional favorites such as Detroit deaf hip-hop artist Sean Forbes at 7 p.m. Aug. 31, Killer Flamingos at 9:30 p.m. Aug. 31, Fifty Amp Fuse at 5 p.m. Sept. 1 and The Howling Diablos at 9:30 p.m. Sept. 1.
“There’s so much local music in Detroit. The real flavor comes from turning a street corner and seeing (one of the) nine stages,” Witz said. “I think we want to bring out the best in Detroit. Eight of 10 of the local bands have been with us last year and for many years.”
Zodiac Entertainment will also host a “Detroit’s Got Talent” Karaoke Contest from 1-5 p.m. daily, as well as open-mic karaoke for event patrons.
With about 335,000 attendees last year, the festival offers a variety of activities, a juried art show and more than 50 new restaurants, including Mitchell’s Fish Market, Bastone Brewery, Gaucho Steakhouse, bd’s Mongolian Grill, Beans & Cornbread, Gemmayze, Kouzina, Hudson Café, Hamlin’s Corner, Happy’s Pizza, Polish Village Café, Slab-n-Slice and Alia’s Catering. Returning festival favorites include the Soaring Eagle Cuisine Machine, Pronto!, Palm Palace, Sangria Tapas Café, Jackson’s Five Star Catering, Peking House, D’Amatos and Hudsonville Ice Cream.
“There’s a lot of Royal Oak focus, which is great for the event,” Witz said. “With all the high-quality, unique-themed restaurants, you could probably do the whole food part of the festival with just them.”
Witz and Ellison said things are running smoother logistically than the past two years and both men hope the weather will cooperate to bring out 400,000 people like the festival did in 2010.
“I compare it a lot to the Dream Cruise,” Ellison said. “We had growing pains the first few years, but since then it’s operated like it (has) been.”
For more details on the four-day festival, visit www.artsbeatseats.com, call (248) 334-4600 or follow Arts, Beats & Eats on both Facebook and Twitter @artsbeatseats. Organizers said parking information is expected to be posted online Aug. 15.
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