1st Annual Freeland PARKAPALOOZA Festival Set to Debut at Tittabawassee Township Park

D Street Music Foundation Stages First of Two Award-Winning Summer Festivals on Sunday, June 3rd

Posted In: Arts & Entertainment, Local Music,   From Issue 862   By: Robert E Martin

24th May, 2018     0

After securing the honor of being voted the Best Music Festival for two years in a row, 2018 marked the year that the D-Street Music Foundation received their first Critic’s Choice Award at the 32nd Annual Review Music Awards Celebration for their ambitious fundraising and musical showcase extravaganza known as Parkapalooza, which has become synonymous for featuring a broad palate of musical talent and family activities, while also benefiting the greater Mid-Michigan region with numerous musical scholarship and special needs programs.

Since staging their first festival back in 2006 on the beach at Sanford State Park, Parkapalooza has occupied a unique niche in the region, delivering a varied array of top-notch regional musical entertainment packaged with activities to engage the entire family, while also raising money to cultivate up-and-coming musicians that may not possess the economic resources to advance their talents.

Three years ago D-Street expanded the reach of their Parkapalooza franchise by staging a second festival in Bay City; however, this year they are moving the location to Freeland’s Tittabawassee Township Park for their first-ever Freeland Parkapalooza, which will be happening on Sunday, June 3rd from 12 PM Noon – 8:00 PM.

Featuring food vendors, Beer & BBQ, free activities, free parking, and free admission, this year’s line-up consists of equally renowned and award-winning musical groups such as Cornpone, Here After Six, Barbarossa Brothers, The Music Doctors, Slick Jimmy, Marsupial Creampie, Whiskey Fixx and The Rock Show.

According to new D-Street President Georgie Poprave, the decision to move the festival from Bay City to Freeland was navigated for a number of reasons. “After 3 years in Bay City, we decided to move to a new venue for a variety of reasons.  We hold Parkapalooza Sanford each year at the beginning of September as a farewell to summer, and when we decided to have a second music festival we felt it would only be appropriate to do so at the beginning of June to kick off the summer .  This year Wenona Park was already booked the first weekend of June so we decided to find another venue.  Tittabawassee Township Park was a perfect fit as it is centrally located in the Great Lakes Bay Region.  The residents of Freeland have been exceptionally welcoming and we look forward to providing an event that is equally as welcoming.” 

“We take the responsibility of choosing our band line-up very seriously and believe we have hit it out of the park again this year,” continues Georgie.  “We look for great bands who are not only great musicians, but exceptional entertainers who represent a variety of musical genres.  We strive to find bands that are appropriate for all audiences, young and old.  We are extremely appreciative of these musicians who volunteer their talents to support the mission of D Street.   Each band will play for approximately 45 minutes, allowing time to get the next band on stage and ready to rock.   This year we will also have a few local solo/duo acoustic acts that will play in between our main bands.” 

“We will have a variety of activities for children including 3 bounce houses, giant foot darts, inflatable bubble ball suits, make and take crafts, instrument petting zoo, face painting, a cardboard box city, and more!  We will also have BBQ, pizza, cotton candy, popcorn, ice cream, and beer for sale at the event.”

What are some of the reasons that Parkapalooza has become such a successfully branded event; and what does she feel distinguishes Parkapalooza from other festivals staged throughout the region?  “For every event that D Street presents, our volunteer board​ works very hard to retain that which people have come to expect from our events - essentially a free musical concert, at an outdoor venue, that the whole family can enjoy,” she reflects.  “One of the legs of our mission statement is to produce low or no cost music events to the community. We are proud of the fact that a family can walk into either of our Parkapalooza festivals and enjoy an entire day of quality live music and activities without spending a dime.”

Former D-Street President and board member Ed Kerns also notes the significance of building the festival as a family-oriented event.  “Unlike some of the other great shows in our area, we are intentionally mainstream. We want you to bring the kids. As the song goes: ‘Pack up the babies and grab the old ladies’…there is excellent music for every taste and activities for everyone. We’re sort of the ‘Variety Band’ of festivals; but I hope, a really good Variety band.”

As an added and significant bonus, almost every year since beginning about 14 or 15 years ago, D-Street has awarded a college scholarship to a deserving music-minded student. What makes their scholarship unique is that the student doesn’t necessarily have to have a sterling grade point average and be at the top of their class to qualify, given that many times those kids who have the most to share musically aren’t the strongest academically.

“​We provide three $1000 scholarships throughout the year,” explains Georgie. “One is awarded at Parkapalooza Sanford, one at Band Roulette, and one at Parkapalooza Freeland.  We award scholarships to music-minded students.  We also provide a $500 mini-grant once a year.  This year we were able to give $500 to the Saginaw High School Band to assist their band students in attending  Marching Band Camp at Florida A&M this summer.  All of the money raised by D-Street returns to the community in the form of these musical scholarships. Plus, we coordinate our BandWagon Musical Instrument lending library, which allows us to take in used band instruments, refurbish them, and lend them out to those interested in learning to play an instrument – completely free of charge. Most recently, we’ve had a chance to partner with the AMP (All Music is Power) program. AMP brings live music into special needs classrooms and provides a free, specially tailored concert for the kids.”

D-Street would like to extend a huge thank you to the all readers of Review Magazine who voted for us and everyone else who supports Parkapalooza,” concludes Ed.   “Also, a shout out to anyone interested in getting involved in with our group.  It really does take a village. Even though the June Festival is upon us, we are actively working on the Sanford Palooza coming up in September and are seeking sponsors for that show. We always need volunteers, sponsors, supporters and just people who appreciate what we do and are willing to spread the word.”




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