Nearly 450 local musicians to benefit from more than $400k raised during The Beats Go On…

James Wallin grant pic (Courtesy: Arts, Beats & Eats)

ROYAL OAK, Mich. – Today, organizers of Soaring Eagle Arts, Beats & Eats presented by Flagstar Bank announced that a total of $431,057.83 was raised through this year’s The Beats Go On… an initiative to raise funds in support of local musicians impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as spread the joy of music virtually and through limited capacity drive-in concerts Labor Day weekend.

Funds were generated through a multitude of sources, including the following:

Direct Donations                                 $  45,983.80

Drive-In Concerts                                $  16,316.60

GoFundMe                                          $  37,059.00

Virtual Performances                          $116,169.51

Oakland County CARES Act              $215,528.91

                                     Total              $431,057.82

Of the total raised, $83,042.80 comprised the Arts, Beats & Eats Musicians Fund, which includes dollars raised through direct donations from individuals, non-profit organizations and corporate sponsors and The Beats Go On GoFundMe campaign, and will be shared among 247 qualifying musicians and musical acts whose pre-COVID-19 earnings were more than 50 percent generated by music-related and band performance income.

Virtual performances, as well as live performances at the festival’s drive-in showcase, generated $132,486.11 of direct support for musicians through personal fundraisers.  An additional 200 musicians that did not qualify for grant support were supported by these funds.  

“Although the pandemic and subsequent health and safety measures mandated by the CDC and State of Michiganprevented us from moving forward with the annual Arts, Beats & Eats festival, we quickly pivoted to offer a meaningful initiative with events to support musicians and artists, while also delivering music, art and food to the community at large, albeit a bit different,” said Jon Witz, event producer. “Arts, Beats and Eats is a Labor Day weekend tradition and we appreciated efforts to continue its spirit under safe conditions this year, while also bringing music back to life both live and virtually and spotlighting local talent who had their work stop in their tracks.”


With a keen understanding of the impact of COVID-19 on the area’s creative community, Oakland County partnered with “The Beats Go On” to provide financial support to musicians and artists with a matching grant through its CARES Act. The matching grant – totaling $215,528.91 – will support 120 individuals who receive 50 percent of their income from their work as a musician for qualifying expenses, such as healthcare, rental or mortgage payments, utility payments, food and groceries, digital access and transportation needs, as well as childcare. 

Said County Executive David Coulter, “Back in mid-July when we first heard about all that Arts, Beats & Eats was doing, especially the fundraising aspect, as a partner of the festival we knew that we wanted to contribute in some way that could make a greater impact. Our team at the County, in collaboration with Dave Woodward and the Oakland County Board of Commissioners, saw an opportunity to use CARES Act funds to double the money and its impact for musicians who have been severely impacted because of the pandemic.

“We applaud the commitment of the Arts, Beats & Eats team and The Beats Go On campaign to help our creative community recover. We are pleased to contribute these matching funds to positively impact the livelihood of local musicians, who have been struggling during this difficult time.”

The support received from the community has been vitally important and appreciated, especially for the musicians whose primary source of income comes from live performances.

“COVID-19 pandemic may have caused a devasting blow to musicians and others in the music industry, but it has been inspiring to see so many people offer an outpouring of support to help artists like myself,” said James Wallin of the Reefermen. “It is with sincere gratitude that I thank The Arts, Beats & Eats Foundation and Oakland County, who have both gone above and beyond to demonstrate that they care about helping those in the creative sector. I also want to thank everyone who made a donation.” 

“I am beyond grateful for having the opportunity this past Labor Day weekend to perform live in front of an audience. We all needed this now more than ever,” said Paul Brady of Stone Clover.  “Music brings people together and it has healing powers. Music also is my life and who I am. The financial support received will go a long way for me and my bandmates, who just want to leave the worries behind and get back to what is important to us: music and bringing it live to our fans.”

Damon Terrell grant pic (Courtesy: Arts, Beats & Eats)


More than 200 bands across nearly 15 genres performed virtual concerts spread across a full week prior to Labor Day Weekend. Each virtual concert served as a fundraiser for the band or musical performer, which included Laith Al-Saadi, Blues/Soul; Paulina Jayne, Country/Americana; Joe Jaber and the Last Divide, Rock; APlus, Pop; acoustic singer-songwriter Ali McManus; the R&B/Jazz musical project DjangophoniqueAlan Turner, Country; The Beggars, Rock; Pretty Stringz and the Fellas, R&B/Jazz; Detroit School of Rock & Pop Music Solo Showcase, Rock; Overdrive Orchestra, Rock; and Blues/Soul guitarist, singer-songwriter Joe Barksdale.


Downtown Royal Oak also delivered a series of live drive-in concerts from 35 local musical acts Labor Day weekend. Each performance featured a pair of 30-minute high energy sets from Michigan bands, which included Alt Rock acts Steffanie Christi’an and Eva Under Fire; Detroit’s finest R&B acts Melanie Rutherford and Larry Lee & The Back in the Day Band, Alise King and Ryan Neal; country acts Raye Williams and Jennifer Westwood and the Handsome Devils, George Aneed and The Orbitsuns; international combos with Raion Taiko and Da’Ja; Leaving Lifted with the Polish Muslims; and Your Generation in Concert, which closed out the series.


Keeping the spirit of its past juried fine art shows alive in 2020, Soaring Eagle Arts, Beats & Eats launched Art by Appointment presented by The Detroit News. The limited capacity event, hosted outside the Royal Oak Farmers Market on Sept. 5 and 6, 2020, resulted in $40,000 in art sales throughout the weekend. For the majority of the nearly 20 participating artists, this was their first public art show of the year.  


Working with neighborhood associations, Eats on Your Streets presented by T-Mobile delivered top locally owned food trucks into Royal Oak neighborhoods and surrounding communities, such as Clawson, Huntington Woods, Clarkston, Detroit, Rochester, Lake Orion and Ferndale. More than 30 stops were made and $35,000 was generated to support local small business owners, who have also been going through financially challenging times.

The Beats Go On… would not have been possible without support from Arts, Beats & Eats’ generous sponsors, who came through with funding despite the smaller activation approach. These include

Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort, Flagstar Bank, City of Royal Oak, Pepsi, Metro by T-Mobile, Oakland County, Priority Health, Shorts Brewing, WDIV LOCAL 4, Fox 2 Detroit, WWJ-AM Newsradio 950, The Detroit News, 99.5 WYCD, 100.3 WNIC, MIX 92.3, 104.3 WOMC, Channel 955, 106.7 Detroit’s Wheels, 97.9 WJLB, and 98.7 The Breeze.

“Thank you to all our sponsors and stakeholders for their generous support, including Oakland County and the Health Department, as well as the musicians, artists, event attendees and donors for getting behind our efforts to help our local creative community during these unprecedented times,” said Witz. With these funds raised, we hope musicians and artists can get back on their feet and have safe avenues in which to perform and display their art in the near future. Arts, Beats & Eats will soon focus its efforts on sponsorship and programming so we can come back better than ever Labor Day Weekend 2021.” 

Arts, Beats & Eats plans to return Labor Day Weekend, Sept. 3-6, 2021. Visit or call 248-541-7550 the most recent event updates. 

Source: Arts, Beats & Eats

Sponsored Stories

Sponsored Stories

1 Comment

  1. Good – I should certainly pronounce, impressed with your website. I had no trouble navigating through all tabs as well as related information ended up being truly easy to do to access. I recently found what I hoped for before you know it at all. Quite unusual. Is likely to appreciate it for those who add forums or something, website theme . a tones way for your client to communicate. Nice task..

Comments are closed.