Artist and graphic designer Tim Gralewski, right, and his daughter, Olivia Gralewski, 11, stand with the Rochester Hills-based artist’s artwork Aug. 12.

Artist and graphic designer Tim Gralewski, right, and his daughter, Olivia Gralewski, 11, stand with the Rochester Hills-based artist’s artwork Aug. 12.

Photo by Sarah Wojcik


Arts, Beats & Eats announces concert, artist lineups

By: Sarah Wojcik | Royal Oak Review | Published August 25, 2020

 Sean Blackman, left, and James Wailin, right, perform at a press event Aug. 12 to announce the local musicians who will be participating in “The Beats Go On” in Royal Oak.

Sean Blackman, left, and James Wailin, right, perform at a press event Aug. 12 to announce the local musicians who will be participating in “The Beats Go On” in Royal Oak.

Photo by Sarah Wojcik

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ROYAL OAK — “The Beats Go On,” a campaign to raise $500,000 for musicians who are suffering financial hardship due to COVID-19, will feature 200 virtual performances across 15 genres Aug. 27-Sept. 3, as well as 17 drive-in concerts in downtown Royal Oak Sept. 4-7.

Arts, Beats & Eats, the longstanding Labor Day festival, will also offer “Art by Appointment,” featuring 18 fine artists Sept. 5-6; neighborhood food truck appearances; and yoga and Zumba fitness events Sept. 5 and Sept. 6, respectively.

“It’s exciting to bring music to life and to have concerts that adapt, even with a small crowd,” event producer Jon Witz said. “It is the beginning of moving the needle forward on events and shows. We have to start at some place.”

The goal of the virtual and drive-in concerts, he said, is to raise awareness of the plight that musicians have been going through and to support them through difficult times.

Sean Blackman, who created the collaborative world music platform In Transit, and James Wailin, of The Reefermen, performed together at an Aug. 12 press event to announce the local musicians participating in “The Beats Go On.”

They will headline the drive-in concerts as a seven-member collaboration called The Reefermen In Transit, along with the Dave Hamilton Band, Sunday, Sept. 6.

“It’ll be like us doing our Detroit rock and soul music with a different kind of flair on it, a world music flair,” Wailin said.

They said the pandemic has changed everything. While they have begun to play small gigs again, the music world is still a far cry from where it used to be. They performed a successful virtual concert early on, but Blackman said virtual concerts became stale quickly.

“Musicians and entertainers are the first to get cut and probably the last to go back,” Blackman said.

Each drive-in concert will include two 30-minute sets from a wide variety of Michigan bands, including Thornetta Davis, The Orbitsuns, Larry Lee and The Back In The Day Band, Stone Clover, Your Generation in Concert, Ryan Neal, and Raye Williams.

Tickets cost $30 and will admit two people per vehicle, with revenue divided between the bands performing. Up to five shows per day will take place in the national stage parking lot at Sixth and Main streets, which has room for 50 vehicles per show.

Cars will park more than 15 feet apart; all band members will perform at least 6 feet from each other and 20 feet from the audience; masks will be required at all times in the backstage area for crew members and musicians waiting to perform; and masks will be required for everyone entering the drive-thru, as well as when food is delivered or when exiting vehicles to use the restroom.

Virtual concerts include acts such as Laith Al-Saadi, Paulina Jayne, Joe Jaber and the Last Divide, Ali McManus, The Beggars, and Joe Barksdale.

To view the full list of virtual and drive-in concerts or to donate, visit artsbeatseats.com.

Artist and graphic designer Tim Gralewski, of Rochester Hills, previewed his artwork at the Aug. 12 press event in the Center Street pocket park. He will join artists specializing in painting, jewelry, ceramics, photography, mixed media and more during Art by Appointment.

“Everything has been canceled this year. This is the only (art fair) that hasn’t been canceled, so it’s really nice. I appreciate what they’re doing to make this happen,” Gralewski said. “I teach as my main source of income, (but the art fair circuit) is a chunk of my yearly money.”

He commiserated with fine artists who rely on the art fairs to make ends meet.

From Sept. 4 to 7, Art By Appointment will allow patrons to view artists’ work online and then schedule a 75-minute visit with the juried fine artists. Fifty guests every 75 minutes will be allowed to enter the art fair, with one visitor at a time allowed per booth.

“It’ll be a ticketed event,” Gralewski said. “It’ll be nice, so people don’t have to worry about giant crowds.”

All artists must wear masks, and physical distancing markers will be placed every 6 feet outside booths for individuals waiting in line to view art. Booths will be placed 10 feet apart. Tickets cost $5 each.

To view the full list of artists or purchase tickets, visit www.arts beatseats.com.

On Saturday, Sept. 5, a 100-person Zumba dance fitness event will take place in the main stage parking lot. Participants must maintain a minimum distance of 12 feet, as well as wear a mask for entry and exit and until they are in their assigned locations. A portion of the fitness dance event will be livestreamed. All funds will be split between Forgotten Harvest and “The Beats Go On” campaign.

On Sunday, Sept. 6, Thrive Hot Yoga will offer a 100-person yoga class in the same area. Funds will be split among COVID-19 charities and fitness instructors who have been out of work. Masks will be required for entry and exit and until participants are in their assigned locations.

All events have been designed in collaboration with the Oakland County Health Department and meet current state guidelines for events.

For more information or registration details, visit artsbeatseats.com or call (248) 541-7550.

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