Arts, Beats & Eats organizers boast new partnerships, collaborations

By: Victoria Mitchell | Royal Oak Review | Published June 29, 2015

 Sean Blackman’s In Transit featuring Steve Caldwell, left, provided entertainment during the press conference at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Oakland and Macomb Counties in Royal Oak.

Sean Blackman’s In Transit featuring Steve Caldwell, left, provided entertainment during the press conference at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Oakland and Macomb Counties in Royal Oak.

Photo by Erin Sanchez


ROYAL OAK — Bringing what officials say is millions of dollars to the community, the 18th annual Ford Arts, Beats & Eats festival will return Labor Day weekend in downtown Royal Oak.

Event producer Jonathan Witz gathered with local politicians and business sponsors June 24 at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Oakland and Macomb Counties in Royal Oak to announce that this year’s event will be bigger, better and feature more community give-back, and that the event will continue for at least three more years.

Ford Motor Co. announced its three-year commitment as title sponsor, reaching into 2018, along with a three-year commitment from Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort to serve in an elevated role as official presenting sponsor.

“This is a great partnership and we simply love the energy and culture of Ford Arts, Beats & Eats,” said Raul Venegas, director of marketing and entertainment for the Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort.

The announcement represents $1 million in new partnership commitments through 2018.

Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson said the annual event brings about 350,000 people to downtown Royal Oak. He said the event has a $30 million impact on the region and a $10 million impact on Royal Oak.

Patterson said that since the festival’s inception, Arts, Beats & Eats has given $4.5 million to nonprofit and community organizations.

“It’s just getting better every year,” Patterson said, adding that the event comes together annually without spending one taxpayer dollar.

The 2015 lineup will include two local restaurants new to the festival — Mr. B’s Pub and Café Muse — and a new lineup of music, which will be released later this month.

Don Whitford, vice president of Priority Health’s eastern Michigan market, announced last week that the 5K and 10K annual run has been renamed to the Priority Health Move to the Beats 5K & 10K, presented by Life Time Fitness.

“We couldn’t be more thrilled to bring this energetic, one-of-a-kind run and walk through the streets of Royal Oak,” Whitford said.

On the morning of Sept. 5, participants will run to the beats of disc jockeys and live bands positioned throughout the course along the streets of Royal Oak. This year’s race will benefit the Rock CF Foundation and the Life Time Foundation.

The runs are part of a focus on healthy living and healthy food choices.

Other collaborations include the Detroit Institute of Art’s commitment to help people think like an artist.

New this year, the museum will bring its free DIA Away mobile interactive classroom and creative exploration space to the event. The DIA will present three onstage art demonstrations each day of the festival.

And after spending the past five years supporting Arts, Beats & Eats from the sideline, OUR Credit Union on Washington Avenue is joining as one of two major financial institutions sponsoring the event, and it will host the sixth annual Food Drive benefiting Gleaners Community Food Bank of Southeastern Michigan. Vibe Credit Union will serve as the other financial institution sponsor.

OUR Credit Union President and CEO Tina Dix said the business will be offering one free admission into the festival this year to anyone who makes a food donation of three or more nonperishable food items to Gleaners.

Dix said that people can drop off nonperishable food items at any of the three OUR Credit union Royal Oak locations or the Troy location. 

The OUR Credit Union parking lot will serve as the exclusive stage for the DIA artist demonstrations.

Witz said other community collaborations will benefit the Autism Alliance, Deaf Arts Festival and Royal Oak Schools Performing Arts Committee.

“Downtown Royal Oak provides the ideal background for Ford Arts, Beats & Eats, and our residents love this event, and as Brooks mentioned, it has a very positive impact on our downtown,” Mayor Jim Ellison said.

Ellison said he was given a special and personal job this year regarding the annual event — to make sure the downtown sidewalk construction project is complete before Arts, Beats & Eats hits the streets Sept. 4-7.

“We’re looking forward to the event again this year and we’ll see you all on Labor Day weekend,” he said.