Common Ground Festival To Bring Music To Downtown Lansing

Jul 6, 2012

The 2012 Common Ground Music Festival starts next week on the banks of the Grand River in downtown Lansing. WKAR’s Melissa Benmark spoke with the co-executive director of the festival, Scott Keith, for a preview of the Festival.

SCOTT KEITH: Certainly we change things up every year a little bit. This year one of the things we are allowing people to purchase is what we’re calling a Fast Pass. So, for just a couple dollars a day, they can get in a little bit earlier than everybody else, and they get a little bit of a, what we call a premium parking place. That’s one of the new things.

And then, one thing that hasn’t been talked about much that’s new this year, is we are doing some, what we’re calling Celebrity Chef cooking demos/tastings. They’re going to be just doing, you know, each day there’s a different chef that’s going to be highlighting some foods and showing people how to do it, and then handing out some small samples.

We’ve got the big name chef—we’ve got a lot of local and regional chefs involved so we’ve got quite a range—but we’re bringing in Matt Moore who has a regular appearance on “The Today Show,” has his own cooking show in the south, and he’s going to be doing some barbecuing. So he’s, kind of his specialty thing.

MELISSA BENMARK: This is construction season and I know it kind of changes fairly regularly. What can folks do? Is there some kind of resource that they can figure out where to park and how to best avoid detours and that kind of thing?

KEITH: Yeah, probably it’s the easiest to get that information from the City of Lansing website, (which) has some of the information on the construction downtown. There is, obviously, some significant construction right next to Common Ground. The Saginaw Bridge is being replaced. Really, only that will affect people coming from the east side, I’d say. If they’re coming from the east heading west, it might be easier just to stay on the east side, park next to the old City Market, and there’s actually an entrance gate right there. So they can avoid all the construction by just turning onto Cedar Street, heading south, and parking there, and entering the grounds in by the new City Market.

BENMARK: What would you say were maybe the top three headline draws that folks are looking forward to this time?

KEITH: Certainly the big draw and the big name everybody’s talking about is Eric Church. He currently has the number one single on the country charts, “Springsteen.” And he’s sold out most of his shows that he’s done the last three to four months. So he’s doing very well. I think we anticipate a sell-out Thursday night for Eric Church.

There’s a heavy influx of 90's rock and 2000's rock this year. So it’s acts like Bush and Three Days Grace are certainly big draws, and if you’re into classic rock, you know, Joe Walsh. If you’re into current rock, Sublime, some hip-hop in Danny Brown. So there’s quite a few different acts, but it certainly is skewed a little bit younger this year.

BENMARK: There is also someone that we usually associate with acting. Kevin Costner is performing?

KEITH: Yes, Kevin Costner is performing. He actually has been touring for a couple years, and we saw this as an opportunity to bring a little bit something different in. I mean, it’d probably be something you’d see on WKAR or see on the Wharton Center bill, or something like that. It’s a little more of a Bonnie Raitt-ish type show.

BENMARK: Oh, really? Okay.

KEITH: Yeah, it’s kind of a country-ish blues-type show. He’s got a really good band. And they just a couple months ago played at the Windsor Caesar’s in Windsor, Ontario. So, it was a really good show and we thought it would be a great way to bring something a little different.

And you know, he’s going to be in town for at least a day or two, and so I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s out and around. He’s that type of guy. He’s very much open to meeting people and talking about his films and talking about his love of music and how the two work together.

BENMARK: All right. So, the dates again are?

KEITH: July 9th through the 15th, so, just starting Monday and heading to the following Sunday.

BENMARK: And I bet you’re hoping for a break in the weather.

KEITH: Yes, I’m watching the weather very closely. It looks like it’s going to be about 82 all next week, with zero percent chance of rain, which, I really like that forecast.