The Rapidian

Two-day Blue Bridge Music Festival to be a connecting point between visual art and sound

This weekend a range of musical genres can be heard on the Blue Bridge, an ArtPrize Eight venue. Check out music, art entries, two local breweries, a record label and radio station WYCE.
Walk across the Blue Bridge at ArtPrize this Friday and Saturday to hear the sounds of West Michigan at a music festival.

Walk across the Blue Bridge at ArtPrize this Friday and Saturday to hear the sounds of West Michigan at a music festival. /Steven Depolo from Flickr

The Blue Bridge Music Festival takes place this weekend on the historic blue foot bridge over the Grand River between Fulton and Pearl on Friday, September 30 and Saturday, October 1. 

Quinn Mathews, station manager at WYCE and host of GR Live, is ArtPrize Eight’s Blue Bridge Coordinator, the organizer of ArtPrize’s music hub where two sides of the city meet over the water.

“I want it so as someone’s walking by they get the feel of the music of West Michigan and what we have to offer here, just like they would as they walk by to see an art piece or a sculpture,” Mathews said.

According to Mathews, the music will be a range of everything from jazz to bluegrass to hip-hop to symphony to rock, the kind of diversity represented on his home station, WYCE.

The festival’s lineup includes Kari Lynch Band, Mark Lavengood Bluegrass Bonanza, Grand Rapids Symphony Ensemble, Edye Evans Hyde Jazz duo, Heaters, JRob & Friends, Go Rounds and Flint Eastwood. 

“A lot of times when we talk about music festivals now we think of Bonnaroo and Lollapalooza,” Mathews said. “It’s not a huge thing. It’s more of a street fest, a free event, family-friendly.”

The Blue Bridge Music Festival can be a short stop along the way to other ArtPrize venues on either side of the river or a place to hang out for an extended period of time. 

There will be a fenced in beer garden for any visitors 21 and over. Founders Brewing Co. will be available on Friday and Creston Brewery on Saturday.

Local label dizzybird records will have a pop up record shop at the festival. WYCE will also have a booth. 

“If I could get someone that’s leaving town to say I enjoyed DeVos, I enjoyed the GRAM, UICA and I really enjoyed that bridge where there’s music, beer and a record store, I’d say we’ve achieved something there,” Mathews said.

Get connected to more live music on the Blue Bridge throughout the entirety of ArtPrize with the Blue Bridge Sessions, 30-minute long busking performances by different ArtPrize musicians every day. "In addition to being eligible for $500,000 in ArtPrize Awards in the Time-Based category, ArtPrize Eight musicians will be eligible to win $10,000 in independently organized awards. These Blue Bridge Songwriters Awards will include ten $1,000 cash prizes—five decided by public vote and five by expert jury," according to the event's Facebook page.

Also look forJukeBoxes, which are placed at major venues around Grand Rapids, available for people to listen to ArtPrize song entries even if they didn't get a chance to catch live Blue Bridge Sessions. Blue Bridge music is sponsored by AMI Entertainment with support from Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. and Experience Grand Rapids.

To see a preview of the entries hosted at the Blue Bridge venue check out the official ArtPrize webpage

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