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* Festival Review *
PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / AMERICAJR.com
A look down Saginaw Street in downtown Pontiac. The area is filled with thousands of visitors for the 2006 edition of Chrysler Arts, Beats & Eats.
PONTIAC, MI. – What a great time at Arts, Beats & Eats!! I attended the festival on Saturday evening and on Labor Day Monday. I had the opportunity to see lots of concerts, taste some delicious food and look at some amazing art. Isn't that what it's all about? Even though the festival is only nine years old, it seems like it's been going on forever!
On Saturday, I attended the concert of FiddlersRestrung on the Dodge Americana Stage. The band is made up of students from Saline High School and they are classified as bluegrass/celtic. Personalities from WDIV Local 4 were on hand to meet their fans and collect donations for the United Way Feed The Mind reading program. I met Ruth Spencer at the table next to the 24 Hours of Jazz stage. Later on, I met meterologist Andrew Humphrey.
Later that day, I saw a performance by the Cass Avenue Ramblers on the Diet Pepsi Unplugged Stage. It was the first time for the entire band to perform in front of a large crowd. Two of the members, Ben and Chris have been performing for a long time but the others are new. I have to say that I enjoyed their music very much. Their genre of music is bluegrass.
It's amazing what artists can do. Everyone comes up with their own unique sizes, shapes and designs. I particularly enjoyed the stand with the different types of mirrors. The border was contemporary while the shape was different. It was not square, it was more curvy. I also liked the stand with the wood. The artist took the wood and turned it into antique automobiles and trains for kids to play with.
Many of the musicians who performed at Arts, Beats & Eats were local artists. For example, Alexander Zonjic performed on the Michigan Lottery National Stage. He is the morning show host on V98.7 and also a famous jazz singer. He is one Detroiter who made it big!
Normally, when you go to an outdoor festival, you would find foot stands with hot dogs, cotton candy and other junk food. When you're at Arts, Beats & Eats, the food is gourmet. These are among Metro Detroit's finest restaurants that come to serve you their specialties. Some of the participating restaurants included Bon Vie, Bravo!, Rainforest Cafe, Longhorn Steakhouse and The Potato Factory.
On Saturday evening, I visited the Miller Lite rock stage. The Howling Diablos were performing. They are a great funk/rock band. As a fan of mostly country music, I can say that these guys were good! Their latest album is Car Wash and it's in stores now.
Labor Day Monday :: Day Four
On Labor Day, the weather was much nicer than how it was on Saturday. The temperature was about 74 degrees and was sunny for most of the day. I started the day by visiting the Starbucks tent where they provided samples of their new pumpkin spice coffee and cream.
The first performance that I attended was that of Annie Capps. She is a local folk singer who performed on the Diet Pepsi Unplugged Stage. Capps is from Chelsea and her latest album is One Big Show. I had the opportunity to interview her. Click here to listen to my LIVE interview with Annie Capps at the 2006 Arts, Beats & Eats. She is such a wonderful entertainer. If you get the chance to see her, go!
Right next to the Diet Pepsi stage, visitors could sample the new Jazz flavors of Black Cherry French Vanilla and Strawberries & Cream. Representatives from Fibersure were passing out samples of their new product. Fibersure also hosted a cooking show on Labor Day to show people how to incorporate more fiber into their diet.
As I return to the Dodge Americana Stage, I find country singer TJ Kelly. He is a native of Cleveland, Tenn. TJ sings songs by Toby Keith, Kenny Chesney, Tim McGraw and many other male country stars. He also has some originals that he likes to sing in his shows. I had the opportunity to interview Mr. TJ Kelly. Click here for that interview LIVE from Pontiac!
Stewart Francke is another one of our great local singers. He also performed on the Michigan Lottery National Stage. He is a songwriter and a singer. I guess you can say he performs double duties in the music business.
Another great country singer, Laura Wilkie performed on the Dodge Americana Stage. She hopes to begin working on a brand-new album at the end of this year or in the beginning of 2007. I had the opportunity to interview her just before her performance. Click here to listen to my interview with Laura Wilkie at the 2006 Arts, Beats & Eats.
At the exact same time Laura Wilkie was performing, another band took the stage on the top of the Phoenix Center parking structure. .38 Special performed on the Michigan Lottery National Stage. They are celebrating their 30th Anniversary this year. .38 Special is made up of Don Barnes, Donnie VanZant, Danny Chauncey, Larry Junstrom, Bobby Capps and drummer Gary Moffatt. They still perform about 100 shows a year. They are such a great band. They are a southern rock band and as a country music lover, I was loving them!
Special Thanks to Arts, Beats & Eats for a media pass for the weekend. I had a blast covering Oakland County's Summer Festival. See you next year for the 10th Annual Chrysler Arts, Beats & Eats...
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