The Rapidian

Sunny weather, large crowds make HopCat, WYCE Blue Bridge Music Festival a success

Unlike last year, when rain, wind, and cold weather dampened attendance, this year sunny skies and warm temperatures brought thousands of music and art lovers to the Blue Bridge Music Festival over two days to listen to the eight bands competing for the “Song of the Year” and a $1,000 cash prize.
Asamu Johnson & The Associates of the Blues

Asamu Johnson & The Associates of the Blues /Ron Lemmon

Underwriting support from:
The Bootstrap Boys

The Bootstrap Boys /Ron Lemmon

Friday the 29th and Saturday the 30th, crowds on the Blue Bridge were continuous.

Friday the 29th and Saturday the 30th, crowds on the Blue Bridge were continuous. /Ron Lemmon

Unlike last year, when rain, wind, and cold weather dampened attendance, this year sunny skies and warm temperatures brought thousands of music and art lovers to the Blue Bridge Music Festival over two days to listen to the eight bands competing for the “Song of the Year” and a $1,000 cash prize presented by HopCat.

Quinn Mathews, Station Manager of WYCE and the event organizer, said “After last year’s rain, we were due for nice weather, and boy, did we get it! I am so happy for the bands -- they deserved the crowds. The bridge was packed for everyone’s set, and we gave all the ArtPrize visitors “A World of Music,” from right here in West Michigan."

The eight bands delivered amazing quality from the open-air stage on the Blue Bridge, and the large crowds energized the bands, with hundreds of people getting up front and close to the stage for a more intimate listening experience. With the audience indulging in Founders beer and with crack fries from HopCat, it became a two-day music, beer, food, and art festival under the larger ArtPrize Nine umbrella.

The music started Friday afternoon with Yolonda Lavender and her soulful tunes followed by boot-kicking country music of the Bootstrap Boys, and then the toe-tapping melodies and lyrics of Michigander to close out the first day of music.

On Saturday, Brad Fritcher Moods kicked off the afternoon with his unique jazz sound followed by the deep blues traditions of Asamu Johnson & The Associates of the Blues. Jesse Ray & The Carolina Catfish followed with an energetic performance of rock-a-billy blues that had the audience dancing, followed by Watching For Foxes, captivating the audience with their rich melodies and multi-instrumental sounds. The evening ended with the J Robb and Lady Ace Boogie performing as The Great Ones, whose high-energy hip-hop style coupled with their great stage presence closed out the festival on a high note.

Casting their votes through the ArtPrize mobile app, the public voted to award one of the eight bands and their musical entry the “ArtPrize Song of the Year” and a $1,000 cash prize, presented by HopCat. After all votes were tallied, the 2017 Blue Bridge Music Festival award winner was The Great Ones, who won for their song, “Do It 4 The Love.”

But no doubt the greatest winners were those who attended The Blue Bridge Music Festival. The event brought together a diverse cross-section of the community -- young and old, male and female, gay and straight, and people of every color –to enjoy the gift of music in the heart of the downtown Grand Rapids in celebration of ArtPrize 9. The smiles on the faces said it all.

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