Founders Fest 2012: A Celebration of Beer and Music

Founders Fest 2012: A Celebration of Beer and Music
Founders Fest: A Celebration of Beer and Music
Photo courtesy of Founders Brewing Company

If you are looking for the perfect reason to skip your college buddy Matt’s out-of-town wedding this weekend, look no further than the fifth annual Founders Fest. This music and beer festival is hosted by Founders Brewing Company at their location in Grandville Ave SW, Grand Rapids. It runs from 3:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. on Saturday, June 23, and is strictly an “Ages 21+” event. Tickets are available now online, as well as in person at their company store for $20 each.  After the event begins, any remaining tickets will cost $25 each.

Founders Fest began back in June of 2008, when Founders Brewing Company decided to celebrate moving to Grandville Ave from their old location in the Brass Works Building on Monroe. In true Founders spirit, they wanted to throw one heck of a party in the streets of Grand Rapids.

“We wanted to celebrate our success with the community that got us there,” says Mark Dorich, director of retail operations and the head of Founders Fest.

This isn’t your run-of-the-mill block party either, unless your run-of-the-mill block parties have a giant stage and bring in national acts like Chicago AfroBeat Project (2008), Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe (2009), Lotus (2010), Galactic (2011), and also some of the best local and regional acts like Greensky Bluegrass, and Chance Jones. Throw in a few jugglers, street performers, and a dude or two on stilts, and your lame block party just got blown out of the water.

Founders Fest: A Celebration of Beer and Music
Photo courtesy of Founders Brewing Company

This year’s musical performances plan to put even past Founders Fests to shame. They decided to go big and added a second stage for essentially non-stop entertainment. Headliners include Soulive, a jazz-funk trio from New York; Toubab Krewe, a five piece world-beat/Americana fusion group from our sister “Beer City USA” winner Ashville, NC; and Las Vegas’ That 1 Guy, an innovative one-man-band who plays a homemade instrument dubbed “the magic pipe.”

Along with those amazing out of state acts, Founders is not sparing any expense this year to get some of the best Michigan talent. Come and meet The Crane Wives (local indie folk rock), Seth Bernard & May Erlewine and Friends (Michigan Roots and Americana), Ultraviolet Hippopotamus (local progressive rock), Four Finger Five (rock from Muskegon), Afro Zuma (local afrobeat), The Soil and the Sun (local indie rock), and our own super-group of Founders Employees called the FBC All Stars (hit list of covers).

Founders Fest: A Celebration of Beer and Music
Photo courtesy of Founders Brewing Company

With all that music you will want to stay all day and you can count on the beer to be flowing! Sample Founders’ staples like Centennial IPA, Pale Ale, Reds Rye PA, Dirty Bastard, Cerise Cherry Ale, All Day IPA; and Founders Fest Wheat, a nice, crisp, summer wheat beer brewed just for this event. For the non-beer drinkers there will also be bottled water, a few varieties of Tradewinds Iced Tea, and Faygo Rock & Rye!

What was that? You want food to go with the tasty beer and tunes? Well listen to this: The Cottage Bar is serving burgers and brats, Sami’s Pita House is dishing out the hummus and gyros, Corner Bar of Rockford is slinging their world famous chili dogs, Mi Tierra Restaurant is getting you full on some authentic Mexican fare, and local favorite What the Truck will be serving delicious Asian inspired fare.

Founders Fest is happening this weekend and it will be one of the best things you can do with your summer. So forget about that wedding you are supposed to go to this Saturday. Seriously, you and Matt were not even that close anyway.

~Dominick Garrett, Feature Writer