Cheap Trick, Salt-N-Pepa to headline Arts, Beats & Eats festival

By: Joshua Gordon | Royal Oak Review | Published July 31, 2015

 Wood sculptor Alec Lacasse, 20, of Leonard, does a live demo of his work during the Arts, Beats & Eats announcement July 30 in downtown Royal Oak. Lacasse will be one of more than 135 artists at the four-day event.

Wood sculptor Alec Lacasse, 20, of Leonard, does a live demo of his work during the Arts, Beats & Eats announcement July 30 in downtown Royal Oak. Lacasse will be one of more than 135 artists at the four-day event.

Photo by Erin Sanchez


Whether rock, alternative, hip-hop or country music is your thing, the 18th annual Ford Arts, Beats & Eats festival has a star-studded musical lineup for the four-day Labor Day weekend Sept. 4-7 in Royal Oak.

During the entertainment lineup announcement July 30 in downtown Royal Oak, Ford’s Detroit regional sales manager, Amy Marentic, announced classic rock groups Cheap Trick and The Guess Who will be joined by fellow rock groups Puddle of Mudd and the Gin Blossoms, alternative bands Neon Trees and Young the Giant, as well as country star Kip Moore.

And to top it all off, the festival will close Sept. 7 with a performance by the female hip-hop group Salt-N-Pepa.

“This is the best lineup of music we have ever seen at Arts, Beats & Eats,” Marentic said. “We always find things are better when we break the bank and bust the budget.”

The announced artists will be joined by rising country musicians James Otto and Lucy Angel, as well as Beatles tribute band Beatlemania and nearly 200 local bands and musicians.

Beatlemania will open the festival on Sept. 4, followed by Cheap Trick and Puddle of Mudd. On Sept. 5, the Gin Blossoms and Neon Trees will perform.

Then, on Sept. 6, Kip Moore and Young the Giant will take the stage, followed by The Guess Who and Salt-N-Pepa on Sept. 7.

Event Producer Jonathan Witz said organizers are anticipating nearly 375,000 people to flood Royal Oak for the four-day event, but music isn’t the only attraction the festival brings to the area.

More than 50 metro Detroit restaurants and more than 135 artists from all over North America, Mexico and Canada will be at the show. The artists’ mediums will range from ceramics and glass to jewelry and photography.

“You are starting to see some of the flavor of an amazing lineup,” Witz said. “There (are) more than 700 entities that are involved in the festival between performers, partners, restaurants and artists. There are so many people bringing their skills and talents that we are so excited about this year.

“It is our biggest budgeted year and we have made some great strides.”

Leonard resident Alec Lacasse will be one of the numerous artists on display at Arts, Beats & Eats, and he was introduced to the crowd July 30 as being one of the youngest artists in the show at the age of 20. The artists will be competing for cash awards totaling $7,500.

This will be Lacasse’s second year at Art, Beats & Eats, and he again will be showing his work sculpting faces in pieces of wood, including a live demonstration on a public stage. Lacasse, who gets his inspiration from people he meets, said having the chance to show at Arts, Beats & Eats is exciting.

“I would rather miss a sale, because it is more about relationships, and that is why I carve people, as corny and tacky as it sounds,” he said. “I think art is a two-part process, and that is the creation of the work and then the part where the individual comes and makes their own story and attaches to it. My philosophy on art has changed a lot.”

Arts, Beats & Eats will include several active offerings, including the return of the Priority Health Move to the Beats 5K and 10K run and walk through downtown Royal Oak on Sept. 5. New this year is the Metro PCS Motor City Hoops Challenge, done in partnership with the Detroit Pistons, where players of any age can compete in a three-point and free-throw competition for prizes, including Pistons tickets.

For the city of Royal Oak, Mayor Jim Ellison said it takes collaboration between all departments to have a successful festival weekend, but it is a great event for everyone involved.

“It is huge in terms of exposure,” Ellison said. “It is a great event to bring people to the community and experience Royal Oak, and for the merchants, most do quite well, and a lot of Royal Oak nonprofits and charities are involved. It has a big impact on the area in a positive way.”

As far as who he is most excited about seeing perform, Ellison was matter of fact.

“Cheap Trick and The Guess Who,” he answered. “I am a classic rock guy from way back. But I’m also excited about seeing Salt-N-Pepa, because I think that will be fun.”

For more information on Arts, Beats & Eats, including a full schedule of events, visit