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General Festival Information


Donations Invited

The amazing sights and sounds of BluesFest can be enjoyed for free—even the best seats in front of the stages! And your gift can help to keep it that way. Please look for the bucket brigade and drop in your cash donation, or visit michiganbluesfest.com to donate online by credit card or PayPal.

The Turnaround Lounge

The location of this large tent lets you follow acts as they rotate between the main stages, from the Lounge’s allweather covered comfort or open patios. The wristband you get for your modest $5 daily admission charge will let you explore the vendor area and events happening off-stage, and return to the Lounge as often as you want. This is also the only location on festival grounds where you can buy alcoholic beverages. Soft drinks are also sold.

Alcohol choices


Miller Lite Coors Light Labatt Blue Redd’s Apple Ale Atwater Vanilla Java Porter Atwater Dirty Blonde Angry Orchard Grand River Monkey Mouth IPA

Wine List:

Cherry Creek: Cranberry Passion Old School House Red Wood Duck Riesling Lynn Aleksandr Chardonnay


Miller Lite Leinenkugel Anniversary Lager Blue Moon Belgian White Frankenmuth Oktoberfest Lansing Brewing Co. Amber Cream Elison Cressent Fresh IPA

NEW! Spirits:

American 5th

NEW! Cocktails:

Michigan Mule American Fifth Vodka, Vernors, splash of cranberry juice Grizzly Bear Capital Gin, fruit simple syrup, lime juice, Angostura bitters, soda

Food Vendors

(Subject to change) Amist Lemonades Anishnabe Meejim- Native American Cinnamon Nuts & More Clint’s Hot Dogs Cottage Inn Pizza Eastside Fish Fry Maria’s Tacos Smoke ‘n Pig BBQ Sweets Rolled Ice cream

Retail Vendors

(Subject to change) ABS Clothing Armed & Fabulous BluesFest t-shirts & posters Ms. Laura’s Art Gallery Providence Chiropractic Sunshine Apparel Third Generation Vibration Creations


As an outdoor street festival, the venue is naturally wheelchair accessible. Specially marked meters along both sides of E. Grand River are reserved for handicap permit holders, and an adjacent City lot (see below) offers some fully accessible spots. Wheelchair-accessible restrooms are available.


Lot 56 at the south end of Turner St., just across E. Grand River Ave from the festival. City’s special event pricing: $7 by cash, local check, credit card for each entry (re-entry incurs new charge) Friday 3-9 pm and Saturday 11am-9pm. Other times free access.

KidzBeat - 1212 & 1213 Turner 1-5pm

KidzBeat is a range of activities giving kids arts experiences first-hand - through craft projects run by some of the area’s finest artists and arts educators, to playing music themselves at the instrument petting zoo of woodwind and brass instruments, guided by MSU Community Music School, and one-on-one sessions with electric guitar and bass, mentored by professional musicians.

WKAR BackStage Pass

New this year, WKAR will be streaming live each evening from BluesFest. The award-winning WKAR BackStage Pass team will stream the performances of Greg Nagy, with Ray Goodman & Rachel Nagy, and Karen Lovely on Friday and Kathleen Murray & the Groove Council and Lil’ Ed & the Blues Imperials on Saturday. WKAR personalities will also be sharing updates and artist and fan interviews via Facebook Live each afternoon and evening. Follow WKAR Public Media on Facebook for updates, and view the festival live performances at wkar.org.


Happendance/DANCE Lansing will connect Modern Dance to Blues music in short solo and small-group performances in front of the stage before the 5:00, 6:00, 7:00, 8:30, 9:30 and !0:30 band performances on both Friday and Saturday. (Subject to weather)

Poster Signing

Dennis Preston, the illustrator behind this year’s artwork, will be signing posters Saturday at 4pm. Dennis began illustration work and graphic design in the late ‘60s while still in high school. After graduating, a majority of the work he did was concert posters (mainly the Lansing, Detroit and Flint areas) and advertising (newspaper ads and posters) for local businesses. He recently retired from Lansing Community College after 40 years of teaching. He taught courses in graphic design, lettering and mainly humorous illustration (cartooning). This past year he has put out 4 adult coloring books. Besides art, Dennis is into music; recording and jamming with some friends. He has CDs available locally and music up on the internet. He’s currently working on a solo project in which he does all the vocals and plays all the instruments. To see more of his artwork go to: The Preston (Like my stuff?) Page on Facebook.

Friday, Sept. 15, 2017

Frog and the Beeftones

5:00pm – 6:00pm | South Stage

“Frog” Forgey is a Lansing favorite, known for his great guitar licks and vocal chops, including 3 decades fronting the Beeftones as they play the blues with a healthy dose of rock that gets audiences moving.

Jim Shaneberger Band

6:00pm – 7:00pm | North Stage

Mixing rock, funk, soul, and blues into a sound all their own, the band moved beyond its Grand Rapids roots to high profile gigs and qualifying for the International Blues Challenge. Their jammienominated first album, Work in Progress, enjoys worldwide radio play, and a new release, Above & Below, is likely to follow suit.

Greg Nagy with special guests Ray Goodman & Rachel Nagy

7:00pm – 8:30pm | South Stage

After years with Lansing band Root Doctor, in 2009 guitarist Nagy released his first solo album, walk that Fine Line, to rave reviews and major award nominations. His 2011 release, Fell Toward None, garnered new recognition of his “heart-stopping, exceptional vocals.” Joining him at BluesFest is the legendary Ray Goodman, former guitarist with SRC and Mitch Ride.

War and Treaty

8:30pm – 9:30pm | North Stage

The duo’s name represents the pull between trauma and tranquility, experienced by Michael Trotter, who served in Iraq and shared his music at memorial services, yet found fame winning “Military Idol,” the army’s “American Idol.” Merging styles with wife Tanya Blount, they offer a unique mix of bluegrass, roots music, bluegrass, gospel and soul, and a hit single, “Hi Ho,” on the radio throughout the country.

Karen Lovely

9:30pm – 11:00pm | South Stage

With a unique voice that ranges from lyrical to powerhouse, in 2010 Lovely placed second at the International Blues Challenge, and the awards and nominations haven’t stopped since. She mixes contemporary and old school blues styles to create a strong Americana sound—driven and passionate, in a vocal style that is uniquely her own, accompanied by what Blues Rock Review lauded as “imaginative guitar work that will appeal to those who are looking for more than twelve-bar blues.” Her fourth album, Ten Miles of Bad Road, made the Top 25 Blues Album list for radio stations on 5 continents. And she’s sure to give an unforgettable live performance into Old Town.

Stan Budzynski & 3rd Degree

11:00pm – 1:00am | UrbanBeat

A mainstay in the Lansing blues scene, features Stan on slide guitar, bassist Ron Bretz, drummer Dan Mead, and keyboardist Greg “Biff” Hodge. Repeat winners of the Capital Area Blues Society’s annual Blues Brawl, they perform their all-original tunes throughout Michigan. While nothing beats hearing them live, Stan also works on the production side, and when the festival’s over, check out their recordings!

Saturday, Sept. 16, 2017


1:00pm - 5:00pm | 1212 & 1213 Turner

Bob Wilson Electric guitar mentor

Josh Wilson Electric bass mentor

MSU Community Music School Petting zoo — Woodwinds/brass

Music-themed Arts Experiences Capital Area Library Van, MICA Gallery & more

Art Projects

Broad Art Museum

Music Workshops

2:30pm - 5:30pm | 1213 Turner

2:00pm - 2:45pm Harmonica for Kids Back by popular demand: Harmonica pro Andy Wilson encourages kids to play the harmonica, and free ones are provided for the first 100 participants, thanks to the sponsorship of Elderly Instruments. Wilson started playing harmonica at a young age himself, and went on to be a member of multiple professional blues bands.

3:00pm - 3:45pm Stan Budzynski Slide Guitar techniques in regular & open tunings (welcome to bring your own to try)

4:00pm - 4:45pm Chris Canas Band Blues forms & progressions, as applied to guitar, bass, guitar, horns and keyboard (bring what you can, to play along with the pros)

Erich Goebel & The Flying Crowbars

2:00pm – 2:45pm | South Stage

Erich Goebel honed his skills as a singer and guitarist for many years as part of the West coast music scene. His forte is scorching, electric guitar in the blues and related American musical forms from funk, to roadhouse, boogie, R&B, jazz, country, Gospel and rock ‘n’ roll. In 2007 he joined with James Cloyd, Jr.—a fellow Detroit native — to form the Crowbars, and keep the motor city vibes running.

Slim “Kev” Nichols & Mike Crupi

3:00pm – 3:45pm | South Stage

If you like lots of guitar, plus dobro, harmonica and vocals, don’t miss the 2017 CABS Blues Brawl winners, before they make their way to the 2017 International Blues Challenge (IBC) in Memphis, TN! Mike Crupi has been reading music since he was six, whose preferred instrument became guitar, a passion supported through his business, Practical Guitar in Jackson, and fulfilled by performing with veteran singer/songwriter/guitarist Kev Nichols. “Slim” has performed with various bands at BluesFest, and is no stranger to the IBC — having led bands there many times since 2004.

Gina Garner & Calling Dr Howard

4:00pm – 5:00pm | North Stage

Gina Garner has performed at BluesFest before, but it’s a first for Calling Dr. Howard —a unique group performing blues, jazz and classic rock and roll, that evolved from a weekly series of public jam sessions in Lansing. Vocalist Gina is joined by drummer Mike Daniels; keyboardist Dave Dudt; bassist Mike Smalley; guitarist “Frog” Forgey, and harmonica player/vocalist Bruce Howard — a/k/a “Dr.

Howard”. The energy and chemistry of those jam sessions are now yours to share.

Maggie McCabe Band

5:00pm – 6:00pm | South Stage

Maggie McCabe has won 5 years of Detroit Music Awards plus 3 nominations for 2017. Her repertoire ranges from early Bonnie Raitt to such blues greats as Sippie Wallace, Sister Rosetta Tharpe and Bessie Smith. An award-winning artist individually, she also welcomes performing with a great trio at BluesFest.

Twyla Birdsong

6:00pm – 7:00pm | North Stage

One of Lansing’s most loved vocalists and known for her showstopping voice and stage presence, she’s formed and performed with many bands in her long career, and shared the stage with such legends as Larry McCray and Freddie Cunningham. She performs the Blues with unbridled passion, and a recent touch of Jazz.

Kathleen Murray & the Groove Council

7:00pm – 8:30pm | South Stage

If you’re craving a taste of old school Detroit, then this funky R&B sound will do just the trick. They’ve been awarded “Outstanding R&B Artist/Group” at the Detroit Music Awards. Everything the Groove Council plays sounds old school but lively. The nine-piece group features 4 horns and a swinging rhythm section. Even if it’s a new and original composition you’ll find yourself feeling the old Motown style in their music. Their genuine joy for performing and danceable music has made them a favorite and bars and festivals alike.

Chris Canas Band

8:30pm – 9:30pm | North Stage

Ann Arbor native Chris Canas fronts a band wellknown in Metro Detroit and beyond, performing wellblended sets of classic covers and clever originals, with a touch of Funk and a big dose of Soul. They won their first blues competition in 2007 and haven’t let up since, still captivating audiences with moving vocals, pounding beats and crackling energy.

Lil Ed and the Blues Imperials

9:30pm – 11:00pm | South Stage

Chicago is overflowing with bluest talent, and yet the fiery, flamboyant slide guitarist Lil’ Ed Williams still manages to stand out from that crowd, performing bottleneck boogie, a/k/a modern electric blues. With a long career including 7 albums released since the ‘80s, these veteran musicians’ latest CD still draws praise for “Lil’ Ed’s incendiary playing and playful, passionate singing, with the ragged-but-right Blues Imperials cooking like mad alongside him.”

Kathleen & the Bridge Street Band

11:00pm – 1:00am | UrbanBeat

Kathleen Walters formed her first band in the late 90s, went on to be featured vocalist for Lansing’s Frog & the Beeftones, and has shared the stage with a series of national blues greats. In 2006, she formed The Blues Junkies as an outlet for performing her own songs, dazzling audiences with a unique mix of traditional and contemporary blues sounds and sultry ballads.


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