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Respeck Knuckles

Festival's Past and Present.

I've been attending Festival Of The Arts in Grand Rapids, Michigan, since I moved to the area in the 90s. All of the music and live entertainment you could want spread over three days for no admission fee. The only way Festival is more exciting for me is when I am playing on one of their stages.

The first year I played Festival was in 2006 when I was in Signal Trip. When we applied for Festival earlier that year we had only played out three or four times doing nothing but classic rock cover songs. Out time slot began at 11:30am on Sunday and the band before us was a female fronted band of high schoolers. Even though they hit the stage at 10:45am they delivered a powerful set of classic rock and original songs. At our next band rehearsal it was decided that we had to start writing songs.

Our return to Festival in 2008 had big hopes and promise. Earlier that year we finished recording an album with ten original songs and plans to play most of them at our Friday 5:30pm time slot. But due to internal issues we were not able to perform as a full band, and because of that it was decided by some that we scrap most of the originals and play mostly cover songs. This was a disappointment to me because there were two members of the Corner Laughers in the audience for a performance that was sub par.

In 2009 we played Festival on a Saturday afternoon under one of the two tents. This helped us maintain a large audience because shortly after we began it started to rain. We ended up playing a lot of originals that were from our CD and songs that would appear on a future album. We must have played everything really fast because we played a lot of songs.

Festival 2011 was much different for me because I played with Saltmine Canary, the band formed by the missus & me. We had some original songs and a couple of quirky cover tunes planned. However, we didn't get to play everything because I broke two guitar strings on the third song. Because we were only going to play for maybe thirty minutes I didn't bring a second guitar. Do you know how long it takes to change two guitar strings? It feels a lot longer when you're doing it on stage. You live and you learn. Well, you live anyway.

We are scheduled to play tomorrow at 2:45pm and the National Weather Service is predicting a temperature of 58 degrees and a 100% chance of rain. That doesn't mean that there will be rain 100% of the time so we shall see about that. But we will be in downtown Grand Rapids with all our gear and ready to play. And I will have a spare guitar.