D Street Music Foundation Wins Back-to-Back Honors for Annual PARKAPALOOZA Festival

Third Annual Bay City Event Set for Sunday June 4th at Wenonah Park

    icon May 11, 2017
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2017 marked the second year in a row that the D-Street Music Foundation walked away with the honor of being named Best Music Festival in the region for their annual Parkapalooza event at the 31st Annual Review Music Awards Ceremony, and according to D-Street’s Ed Kerns, “Winning this award back-to-back in an amazing honor and I think all of were surprised!”

Since their inaugural 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.

“I don’t mean to be falsely modest because I think we do a great festival and have been at this now for 13 years,” continued Kerns, “but all those schmaltzy things people say at awards shows is true – it is humbling to be recognized; and we never forget that the success of the festival depends entirely upon the talent and generosity of the bands that donate their time to this event.  From the very beginning it was D-Street’s intent to do a great show first; and hopefully be able to raise money in the the process. Being a small non-profit organization, we live and die by businesses like Labadie who has stepped up to support our efforts.”

“Parkapalooza is a family festival and the word ‘family’ is key,” he adds. “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.”

Two years ago D-Street expanded the reach of their Parkapalooza franchise by staging a second festival in Bay City; and this year the stage is set and excitement rapidly building for the 3rd Annual Parkapalooza Bay City Music Festival, which will be happening on Sunday, June 4th at Wenonah Park from Noon – 8:00 PM.  This year’s line-up will feature, in no particular order, J-Rock, along with numerous other bands that won top honors at this year’s Review Music Awards, including The Straight Eights, Mandi Layne & the Lost Highway, Michael Robertson & the Broken Hearted Saviors, Bob Hausler & the High Octane Hillbillies, along with The Laurie Middlebrook Band, Hoss Burley (from Detroit) and last but not least, crowd favorites The Rock Show.

“We also are planning something quite unique this year,” adds Ed, “We are going to put a “Foodie” spin on the event, and have invited many of the area’s best food trucks and vendors to join us in a friendly competition we call Soundbites. People will be able to buy tickets for a dollar, and for a ticket or two be able to get a sample from the food vendors of their choice. They will also receive a token with which to cast a vote for their favorite food seller.   Home Depot will also return again this year with a ‘make it and take it’ woodcrafts for the kids, and of course there will be the omnipresent bounce house, face painting and other kid activities.  All for free!”

When asked how attendance at last year’s Bay City Parkapalooza compared to their inaugural year for the festival, Kerns says the first year they amassed a respectable crowd in excess of a couple thousand folks throughout the day.  “Last year, unfortunately, we held the event in a Monsoon. We were literally chasing tents across the park due to heavy winds and there were times when the rain seemed to fall sideways. Still, there were a few hundred brave souls who stuck it out with us and hid under the tents, but bad weather is a gamble that you always take with an outdoor event.  I’d like to think we’ve paid our dues and it will be all sun and gentle breezes this year.”

“I will say that the folks who stuck around last year enjoyed a great show,” he continues.  “I remember in particular Marsupial Creampie and Tweed and Dixie performed during an absolute downpour. You really couldn’t blame those guys if they had just phoned it in, but every band put on a great show. To my mind, that is what separates the best from the rest. As an event organizer and a musician, I have tremendous respect for that.”

Kern says that if everything breaks their way, Parkapalooza should make a few thousand dollars for their program endeavors targeted for youth and kids.  “It’s a free show, so most of the earnings come from sponsorship dollars, but we also sell festival shirts and do 50/50 drawings and gladly accept donations.  I always joke that we are just one thunderstorm away from abject failure, but we had that last year and survived, so maybe I’m mistaken.”

“I’d like people to know that D-Street is a very small group and we keep our operating expenses to a minimum. No one draws a salary, we don’t pay for a building and we are very careful with the money trusted to us. We rely heavily on the kindness of others so that we may pay it forward.”

“Almost every year since our beginning about 14 or 15 years ago, D-Street has awarded a college scholarship to a deserving music- minded student. What makes our 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.  Sometimes those kids who have the most to share musically just aren’t the strongest academically. This year we are budgeted to present three $1000 scholarships and a $500 music camp scholarship.  We also have the BandWagon program, a musical instrument lending library.  We usually place a handful of instruments each year with kids who couldn’t otherwise afford them.”

“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. Some of our D-Street board was privileged to sit in on a show last month and what happens is nothing short of miraculous. The music speaks to these kids in a way that just refuses to acknowledge any disability. I’ve never seen such a love fest between performers and their audience.”

“Andy Reed, Donny Brown and Mark Lyons are the program’s originators and they had a concept for an adjunct to the program called a Musical Petting Zoo. The idea is to allow the kids to get hands on with different musical instruments.  D-Street will supply instruments for the AMP shows that the kids will be able to touch, hit, strum and blow into - as well as provide some financial support to AMP.”

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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