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Wednesday, March 3,2010

Old Town = Funkytown

May concert may inspire dancing in the streets

by Rich Tupica

 


Every year Old Town is host to JazzFest and BluesFest, each of which draws over 15,000 people to the streets of Lansing. Now there’s a new, funkier event on the block. Mi-Funk, a one-day concert, is the latest live-music event in the heart of Old Town.


Mi-Funk kicks off Saturday, May 22, at the corner of Grand River Avenue and Turner Street — in City Lot 56. It will run from 2 p.m. to midnight. The event, which is happening the same weekend as the East Lansing Art Festival, will feature four old-school funk bands and a street dance party.


It will be a ticketed concert, rather than a free festival. Pre-sale tickets for this 21 show are $20. Tickets at the gate are $25, and valid ID is required.


Set to perform are the Sun Messengers, the official band of the Detroit Pistons. The group has also opened for Jay Leno at the Palace of Auburn Hills. Other live acts are vocalist Valerie Barrymore & the Foundation of Funk, Nadir and Soul Xpress. Concertgoers can also expect an expansive beverage tent highlighting Michigan beer and wine, as well as local food vendors and vintage merchandise vendors.


Members of the Old Town Business & Art
Development Association, which has been hosting happenings like
JazzFest since 1995, developed the funky idea in hopes of drawing a new
crowd to Old Town.


OTBADA president Terry said the genre of funk was chosen for one reason: dancing.



“We do a JazzFest and BluesFest, but we’ve been kicking around the idea of doing another festival for awhile,” Terry said.


“We
threw around a few ideas and genres. Funk just kept coming back up —
people love the energy and it’s great dance music. Funk has an older
crowd and a younger crowd, so it should be a fun mix.”


Terry
said Mi-Funk will crosspromote with the 2010 East Lansing Art Festival,
which runs May 22-23. “The funk fest will draw a different audi ence than
the Art Fest,” Terry said. “Our plan is to have an Art Fest booth and
signage at the Funk Fest. We intend to heavily promote the Art
Festival. Our hope is they’ll go to the Art Fest after, or vice versa.”


Terry said members of the OTBADA hope Mi-Funk will bring more attention to the shops and businesses in Old Town. “The value of this concert is that it helps new people discover what we have going on in downtown Lansing,” he said.


“Every
time a new group of people visits, they become patrons of the
restaurants and shops, days and years after the fact. Some people come
in and decide to live in Old Town, or start a business — we’ve seen
that happen over and over.”


All
proceeds from Mi-Funk will help support the Old Town Business & Art
Development Association, a non-profit organization that works to
preserves historical buildings in the Old Town neighborhood.


Mi-Funk

2 p.m.-midnight Saturday, May 22 Corner of Grand River Ave. and Turner
St. in City Lot 56 $20 advance tickets, $25 at the gate 21 and up with
valid ID (517) 371-4600 www.oldtownarts.org

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