Tanya Bardy, marketing manager of events and promotions for Arts, Beats & Eats title sponsor Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort, unveils the official poster for the Labor Day festival, which will take place Sept. 3-6, at Royal Oak Taphouse July 13.

Tanya Bardy, marketing manager of events and promotions for Arts, Beats & Eats title sponsor Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort, unveils the official poster for the Labor Day festival, which will take place Sept. 3-6, at Royal Oak Taphouse July 13.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes


Arts, Beats & Eats moves forward, to forego ticket system

By: Sarah Wojcik | Royal Oak Review | Published July 26, 2021

 Michael DiLaura, chief operating officer and general counsel for Michigan cannabis company House of Dank, talks about the business’s new sponsorship of Arts, Beats & Eats.

Michael DiLaura, chief operating officer and general counsel for Michigan cannabis company House of Dank, talks about the business’s new sponsorship of Arts, Beats & Eats.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

 Austen Brantley, a self-taught Detroit artist who graduated from Berkley High School and started sculpting in high school art classes, discusses his art and his excitement about participating in Arts, Beats & Eats.

Austen Brantley, a self-taught Detroit artist who graduated from Berkley High School and started sculpting in high school art classes, discusses his art and his excitement about participating in Arts, Beats & Eats.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

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ROYAL OAK — Arts, Beats & Eats, the popular four-day Labor Day festival that has been held in downtown Royal Oak since 2010, will return to the heart of the city Sept. 3-6.

Festival organizers opted to eliminate food and drink tickets for the first time in the event’s 24-year history. The “eats” portion of the festival will now list monetary prices for goods, and vendors will accept cash or credit for purchases.

Jon Witz, festival producer, said the decision was based on longtime requests to move away from the ticket system, as well as an added layer of safety to reduce lines and the number of touch points given the ongoing threat of COVID-19.

“It was a very tough decision,” Witz said. “In the past, (selling tickets) helped with festival revenue. Coming out of COVID, it was a big risk, but the overwhelming reason is customer service. People have asked for this, and we’re trying to adjust in other ways to make up for the revenue.”

He said festival organizers will monitor the response to the elimination of food and drink tickets, and if all goes well and they can “figure out the financial aspects and service aspects,” they will continue the change into the future.

The outdoor festival will operate at full capacity after being canceled last year. Despite the cancellation, virtual and small-scale live offerings provided a variety of art, food and music in 2020, and an initiative to help local musicians called “The Beats Go On…” raised more than $431,000, according to a press release.

Witz encourages people to get vaccinated against COVID-19 and said that signs will be posted advising unvaccinated guests to wear masks and social distance for their own health and safety, but that event staff will not be checking for proof of vaccination.

“We just encourage people to keep the momentum going. It’s only because people are getting vaccinated that we are in this position to have events like this, football games and concerts,” he said. “We’re outdoors. We’re safer than indoor venues.”

He added that additional hand-sanitizing stations will be available for patrons, and more cleanup crews will be working to keep surfaces disinfected. All food and beverage staff will also be required to wear masks while serving.

“The long wait is over. We’re eager to come together to enjoy live music, amazing art and mouthwatering cuisine. It feels good to be back and we’re looking forward to giving back to the community that has stepped up tremendously in the fight against the pandemic so we can all return to normalcy,” Raul Venegas, of third-year title sponsor Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort, said in a prepared statement.

More than 200 performances will take place on nine stages; a juried fine art show will bring artists from across the country to the festival; dozens of local restaurants and food trucks will participate; and new programming and hands-on activities will provide family fun.

This year, Michigan cannabis company House of Dank also signed on as a major multiyear partner and will sponsor the new House of Dank Lounge, which includes special seating and entertainment. The location at Sixth and Center streets will also serve as the new home of the Performance Pit, a stage featuring DJs, musicians, strolling entertainers and more.

According to the press release, consumption of cannabis will not be permitted within the footprint of the festival.

Festival organizers will announce the music lineup, artists, food and beverage vendors, and new and returning activities, as well as admission pricing, on Aug. 4. Cash and credit card transactions will be accepted at gate entrances.

Arts, Beats & Eats will be open 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday, Sept. 3, through Sunday, Sept. 5, and 11 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 6.

In 2019, the festival drew more than 343,000 visitors and raised over $233,000 for local charities; since its inception, it has donated almost $6 million to charitable and community causes, according to the release.

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

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