2017 Ford Arts, Beats & Eats celebrates 20th anniversary with unparalleled festival line-up

ROYAL OAK, Mich. – Ford Arts, Beats & Eats returns to the bustling streets in downtown Royal Oak over Labor Day weekend Sept. 1 – 4 to celebrate its 20th year as the premier Michigan festival. Organizers expect the festival’s unparalleled line-up of beats, stellar eats and mesmerizing arts, as well as many new, innovative programming and hands-on activities to attract record-breaking crowds of people from all over the state and beyond for the all-encompassing four-day event. Through their steadfast commitment to quality of life in the region, this milestone year also should generate funds that bring the total donations raised for local charities since the festival’s inception to more than $5 million.


Ford Arts, Beats & Eats is proud to bring the biggest and best lineup in event history and local musical favorites to perform on nine different stages during this year’s Labor Day weekend. More than 200 national and local bands, with various styles and sounds from nearly every genre, ensure everyone can enjoy their favorite beats.

The Michigan Lottery National Stage will blow festivalgoers away with multi-platinum alternative reggae rockers 311 on Saturday, Sept. 2. Other outstanding musical acts performing as headliners on the national stage throughout the weekend include The B-52sGeorge Clinton and The P-Funk All StarsGrand Funk Railroad,Starship featuring Mickey ThomasCandleboxThe WallflowersJordan Davis and Dwight Yoakam. Along with the all-star national musical lineup will be popular local performers Your Generation In ConcertJena Irene and Half Light Music.

Detroit’s best local bands will be featured on six additional music stages, with a quality mix and variety of music that is unmatched by any other festival and previous Ford Arts, Beats & Eats years, including performances by The Orbitsons andThornetta Davis. The local stages consist of a Country StageAlternative Rock StageRock StageR&B and Jazz StageAcoustic Stage and an International Stage. Top local talent featured this year includes The War and Treaty, Drew Hale, Avalon Black and King Mellowman. 


Ford Arts, Beats & Eats brings expanded food offerings that will please the palate and satisfy visitors, as the most premier restaurants and caterers in southeast Michigan line the streets of downtown Royal Oak. Festivalgoers can enjoy everything from smoked meats to vegan dishes to seafood to ice cream treats and much more for the ultimate food experience.

Ford Arts, Beats & Eats welcomes Troy’s Sedona Taphouse, known for their wide selection of craft beer and hand-cut ‘certified angus’ choice steaks; Bonefish Grill, offering fresh seafood and top cuts of meat; Carrabba’s Italian Grill, best known for its wood-burning grill and cuisine inspired by the tastes of Italy; and Lazy Bones Smokehouse, located in Roseville, famous for their southern-style barbeque smoked over Michigan Applewood.

Fresh to the festival is the ABE Veggie Café, hosting food trucks in a vegetarian paradise with relaxed seating surrounded by lush greenery located on 6th Street and Washington Avenue, in the center of the festival. Food trucks featured at the ABE Veggie Café will include Greenspace Café, a premier dining destination in downtown Ferndale with fresh artisanal plant-based vegan cuisine, and The Nosh Pit, featuring fun and fresh vegetarian sandwiches and soups.


One of the nation’s premier art events is the award-winning Juried Fine Art Show at Ford Arts, Beats & Eats. The competition draws in hundreds of artist applications for the opportunity to be in the show. Talented artists from across the continent are contending for one or more of the cash awards totaling $7,500. The show will display artwork of varying mediums, including, fabric and fiber, painting, ceramics, photography, wood, digital art, glass, jewelry and metal, sculptures and more. Festivalgoers have the opportunity to peruse and purchase works of art at more than 135 booth spaces.  

New to the festival is the Ziibiwing Center for Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe to bring a taste of Native American history to the festival. Courtesy of Soaring Eagle Casino and Resort, the Ziibiwing Center for Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe will have artwork on display that captures the tribe’s rich culture and heritage in Michigan for festivalgoers to experience and enjoy.

Also making its debut at Ford Arts, Beats & Eats is Flagstar Culture on 4th. This new interactive exhibition, produced by the southwest Detroit arts and education collective Garage Cultural, celebrates visual and performing arts. Workshops will take place each day of the festival for the entire family, including a large, freestanding mural built by artists at Garage Cultural in Detroit and then assembled at the festival for attendees to complete over the four-day festival.


Ford Arts, Beats & Eats goes “on-strike” with a Life Time Fitness Labor Day Strike Fitness class. This intense kickboxing class is far from ordinary with its martial arts inspired stick-fighting drills. The exciting fitness class is free of charge and will pack a punch for participants as they push cardio to a whole new level. Registration is required and donations are encouraged to benefit the Life Time Foundation, which works to develop sustainable approaches to accelerate healthy change in school food programs and provides grants to schools and meals to children. The Strike class will take place at 9:30 a.m. Monday, Sept. 4. For more information and to register visit: www.artsbeatseats.com 

Festivalgoers also will have the opportunity to enjoy this year’s Ford Arts, Beats & Eats celebration with a more relaxed state of mind and body through the Priority Health Practice for a Purpose yoga event presented by Life Time Fitness, afun, new fitness activity encouraging attendees to practice a healthy and active lifestyle.

Thrive Hot Yoga and Citizen Yoga each will host a large group class to get novice and experienced yogis stretching into poses meant to help them find balance, peace and strength. Offering something for everyone, classes will be held at 9 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 3 and are $10 each or $15 for both. All fees support three great community causes: Humble Design, Life Time Foundation, and Spina Bifida Association of Michigan.

On Saturday, Sept. 2, the Priority Health Zumbathon Celebration returns to the Michigan Lottery Stage from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. In conjunction with the metro Detroit fitness company, Vibe Fit, the class will feature other local Zumba instructors from across Michigan and offer participants a chance to experience serious fitness that is seriously fun. Last year, a record breaking 1,500 Zumba enthusiasts turned out to enjoy the dance party. Pre-registration is $7 and day-of registration is $10. To register now, visit: www.artsbeatseats.com/priority-health-zumbathon.

Priority Health also will bring back Healthy Options for the 2017 festival. Attendees just need to look for the Healthy Option logo on each food vendor sign for healthy items that are on the menus of participating local restaurants and eateries.


The popular Kids Zone is guaranteed to attract and entertain youngsters with new and returning interactive activities throughout the four days of the festival. For the first time, the Milk Mustache Tour will make a stop at the festival, courtesy of the Michigan Dairy Farm Families. Inside the 35-feet by 8-feet trailer, festivalgoers have the opportunity to engage in fun, interactive and educational activities about nutrition and how to lead an active and Dairy Good life. Activities include video games, dairy trivia, an appearance by Miss Moo and more.

For the second year, the Kroger Arts & Scraps tent will be free to all guests during the festival, providing recycled materials from around metro Detroit to create works of art. Kids can learn how to create musical instruments, unusual food, play a junk xylophone or build a giant musical marble run to see how many sounds can be created on the ramp.

The Oakland County Kids Stage will feature a variety of fun, interactive and informative performances. On Friday, Sept. 1 and Saturday, Sept. 2, from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m., families can visit the Kids Zone for hands-on science activities and live demonstrations. Rosco the Clown, Pure Imagination Magic, Juggler Tim Salisbury, Kevin Devine Music Show and other kid-focused interactive shows will bring endless laughs, smiles, amazement and awe to audiences throughout every day of the festival.

Mid America Shows is providing this year’s Carnival, which brings quintessential summer-time fun with ten rides geared just for families. Kids can enjoy the thrills from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday through Sunday and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday in the Sherman lot at the north end of the festival and in the Royal Oak city lot, which borders 6th and Main streets.

The Detroit Red Wings Hockey Skills Challenges returns to the festival with an interactive hockey zone, giving attendees a chance to win some big prizes. Kids can test their skills at the Electronic Top Shop Net, hockey tables and video games to win player autographed merchandise as well as tickets to the upcoming Red Wings hockey season.


This milestone year for Ford Arts, Beats & Eats is going to be a celebratory occasion and another win for nonprofit organizations and community groups from all over metro Detroit. Funds raised at this year event through gate admissions, beverage proceeds and other festival sponsored community initiatives, are expected to bring the total dollar amount of donations to charities since its inception past the $5 million mark.

As the new official bank sponsor, Flagstar Bank also will continue the festival’s tradition by hosting the 7th annual Food Drive benefiting Gleaners Community Food Bank of Southeastern Michigan. Headquartered in Detroit, Gleaners operates five distribution centers in Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, Livingston and Monroe counties, which provide food to 510 partner soup kitchens, food pantries, shelters and other agencies.

Food Drive donors can receive one FREE admission to the festival by bringing three or more nonperishable food items to Flagstar Bank locations between Monday, Aug. 21 through Friday, Sept. 1. Visit www.artsbeatseats.com for nearby Flagstar Bank locations accepting donations. Last year’s festival Food Drive collected nearly 4,000 pounds of nonperishable items, providing more than 3,000 meals for Gleaners to distribute to those in need.

Ford Arts Beats & Eats teams with Autism Alliance of Michigan to bring select families a unique package as part of the 6thannual Family Days presented by Kroger. On Saturday, Sept. 2, Sunday, Sept. 3 and Monday, Sept. 4, hundreds of children on the autism spectrum and family members will enjoy a one-day access pass to the festival, which includes free parking as well as free admission, free carnival rides throughout the day and free lunch for the first 750 registrants per day. Additionally, the festival will open one hour early for participating families to give their children private access to the festival carnival. To register and for more information visit: www.Artsbeatseats.com/family-days/

Back by popular demand is the Meters Made Beautiful program. A collaboration between the festival and Royal Oak Commission for the Arts, the program showcases selected artists’ work on parking meters inside the festival footprint. The painted meters will be on display for many years following the annual event, with the goal of supporting and appreciating the rich arts and culture in Royal Oak.


Parking information is available at http://artsbeatseats.com/parking-transportation/


The sponsors for the 2017 Ford Arts, Beats & Eats include: Ford, Southeast Michigan Ford Dealers, Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort, Barefoot Winery, Beaumont Health System, Budweiser, City of Royal Oak, Comcast, Detroit Shirt Company, Detroit Institute of Arts, DTE Energy, Flagstar Bank, Hansons Windows, Kroger, Leaf Filter, Lifetime Fitness, Made in Detroit, Majic Window, MetroPCS, Michigan Lottery, Motor City Hot Tubs, Oakland County, Pepsi, Priority Health, Pure Leaf Ice Tea, Renewal by Andersen, Sprint, Tito’s Vodka, US Park, WDIV-TV 4 and WindowPRO.

The 20th annual Ford Arts, Beats & Eats presented by Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort, is Oakland County’s premier festival held September 1 – 4, 2017. The festival paints downtown Royal Oak with a variety of art, food and music for the community to enjoy. More than 415,000 visitors attended the 2016 Ford Arts, Beats & Eats. “LIKE” artsbeatseats on Facebook or follow us on Twitter @artsbeatseats. For additional public information, visit www.artsbeatseats.com or call 248-541-7550.

Source: Ford Arts, Beats and Eats

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