Sterlingfest fine-tunes its summer music lineup

By: Eric Czarnik | Sterling Heights Sentry | Published May 13, 2015


The Sterlingfest Art & Music Fair might not have the “Margaritaville” beach party theme of last year, but it will feature a Beach Boys tribute band and a broad mix of other musical acts, according to city officials.

The annual Sterling Heights festival will occur this year July 23-25 in the area around the Richard J. Notte Sterling Heights City Center.

Bridget Doyle, Sterling Heights community relations director, said the festival will reprise the beach ball toss to mark the start of the event, which was put into place last year to replace an old tradition of launching balloons into the air.

“It was successful last year,” she said. “The feedback we got back was very positive. From what I understand, it’s more environmentally friendly for us to use the beach balls, and the (guests) are able to take them home, as well.”

Doyle said the Sterling Heights Parks & Recreation Department helped book the bands.

“Music is a huge part of Sterlingfest. It’s one of the anchor activities with the art fair,” she said. “I know that the city takes a lot of care and listens to a lot of demo tapes when it comes to choosing the acts for each year.”

During the festival, four stages will present numerous acts. At the Sterlingfest Dodge Park Bandshell Stage, tribute bands to The Beach Boys (Surf’s Up), Bob Seger (The System) and Bon Jovi (Crush) will perform. Other examples of musical acts include The Gratitude Steel Band, Bernadette Kathryn, and The Black Lungs.

At the Sterlingfest Jazz & Blues Stage, guests may listen to a variety of jazz trios and quartets.

Meanwhile, the Sterling Heights Regional Chamber of Commerce & Industry will bring back its Suds ’n’ Sounds Stage with acts like the Cadillac Cowboys, Crewsade, The Groove Council, Nightline, Reeds & Steel, The Sun Messengers and The Swift Brothers.

Young people may enjoy an animal demonstration, a magic show, a clown show and other entertainers at the Coach’s Ice Cream Kidzfest Stage.

Parks & Recreation Manager Kyle Langlois said he wanted to search for the types of acts that would draw a good attendance of all sorts of people with different musical tastes.

“One of the things I wanted to get into this year was variety,” he said. “We spent a lot of our last years with our music choices, especially on the main stage, being a really specific genre of music.”

Langlois said he hopes that Crush, the Bon Jovi tribute band, will appeal to a broader audience than what the festival had in the past. Langlois also was excited about the arrival of a folk duo, The Swift Brothers, and he also noted that the event will bring some country music from the Cadillac Cowboys to the Suds ’n’ Sounds Stage.

“We’ve had country bands play at Sterlingfest before,” he said. “It’s very rare in the beer tent.”

The 2015 Sterlingfest Art & Music Fair will take place July 23-25 in the area around the Richard J. Notte Sterling Heights City Center, 40555 Utica Road in Sterling Heights. Read a full list of scheduled musical acts by visiting or by calling (586) 446-2470.