Michigan Festival: Art, Food & Music at its Best

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Arts, Beats & Eats

Arts, Beats & Eats

Now it is Wednesday. I had intended to blog each day about Arts, Beats & Eats, but life and the job got in the way.

Saturday night ended late for me. After the streets were clear and all the artists closed up there was some office work to do then I headed back to my hotel to meet old friends Allan Teger and Chris Maher in the bar for a drink. We settled up the art fair business fast and then discussed the various ways to use the Internet to connect artists and patrons. They want to make a community out of the patrons who love art fairs, holding meetings during the fairs where the patrons can meet each other. This is taking social networking real. Would this be of interest to any of you?

Photographer Ed Holland at Arts, Beats & Eats

Photographer Ed Holland at Arts, Beats & Eats

Sunday morning was time to hustle again. We host an artists award breakfast at the Lafayette Grande and it is always well attended. Lisa and I really enjoy talking with the artists away from their booths and seeing everyone relaxing for a little while. Then we have an awards presentation and pass out the checks and the ribbons. Jon Witz, the producer of Arts, Beats & Eats, attends and always gives a heads up on his plans for the future of the event.

Next year we will be closing earlier. Radio stations that cater to young people will not be part of the lineup and the carnival will be gone. These changes are going to be made to make it more comfortable for an older crowd to attend in the evening.

There are six stages at our event and the people who attend the art fair somewhat reflect the acts for the day. In the art area there is an acoustical stage which always draws a mellow crowd. The headliner for the whole weekend (as far as I was concerned) was Chaka Khan on stage at 10 pm. I was able to get VIP passes for some of the artists and Svetlana and Sam Kuznets, Irina Dinkevich, Richard McCollum, Andrew Wender, Marvin Bower and some others got special seats. When the art area was closed my friend Sandy Dunstone and I got to join them there.

Richard Skelton sculpture

Richard Skelton sculpture

The speakers were so loud that you could hear Chaka all over downtown Pontiac. Other staff people just stayed in the office and they heard her as well as we did. Fun, great energy–welcome to Pontiac, Chaka.

Back to the hotel, her tour bus was already there and I rode up in the elevator with her bodyguard.

Monday is always a happy day–only six hours to go. Much buying of art happens on Monday and I caught many artists making sales (photos coming soon). At five pm artists start closing even though the streets are full of people. Many of them have put in enough time and are ready to leave. Still it was an hour until there was room to bring in the vehicles. Some complained because we were closing, but most were ready to go.

By 11 pm everyone was gone, the electricians were collecting all the cords, the scaffolds were down and the street was back to normal. In the rest of the event area (restaurant, vendor and stages) the event ends at 8 pm. All night long the crews are removing tents, propane tanks, grease barrels, stages and equipment getting the streets open for Tuesday morning.

I was back in the office on Tuesday, but many of the crew worked all night. Leaving town on Tuesday afternoon (after cleaning up the files, making an invitational list for next year, writing letters to the artists, etc.) there were just a few large tents left in the parking lot and the carnival was doing its final loading.

It was a great weekend for me seeing so many old friends, including Scott Coleman who we met at our very first art fair, and meeting three people who I have featured as Artist of the Month: Debra Groat, Steve Uren and James Parker. Greetings go out also to jeweler Liz Kain and her friend Louise, subscribers and readers from Toronto, participating for the first time.

Many thanks to everyone who makes these events what they are: special.

Collette Fortin of Neptune Hot Glass

Collette Fortin of Neptune Hot Glass

More stories on this popular festival:

Arts, Beats and Eats festival offers food and fun
Detroit Free Press – United States
Wilson’s art, as well as other pieces at the festival, could be bought from as little as $10 to thousands of dollars. Bands and radio stations playing their …

Folks take to blogging, green theme at AB&E
Detroit Free Press – United States
“This is the first time I’ve seen laptops at any type of festival,” said Reema Gupta, 23, of Sterling Heights. “Usually they sell art and we eat, …

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