Change is good, especially when it comes to the location of this year’s Midwest Fest.
A three-day music festival hosted in Mount Pleasant, Midwest Fest attracts hundreds of students and residents to a venue to enjoy live music.
Corey Densmore, the founder of Midwest Fest, helped fill Hunter’s Ale House from Thursday through Saturday evening. On Friday, more than 200 people packed the small bar located on 4855 E Blue Grass Road.
“Last year, I started booking some other shows here,” Densmore said of the new venue. “We have two stages this year, which is new. It came with doing it here at Hunter’s Ale House.”
What started in 2008 has turned into a main attraction to the city of Mount Pleasant after six years. That became apparent when the event was moved to Grand Rapids in 2010.
“The 2009 version (in Mount Pleasant) wasn’t the greatest, so we tried something new,” Densmore said. “People who came to the other shows I was putting on asked why Midwest Fest wasn’t here anymore.”
Since its return, the music festival has been held at the end of September for the last three years. In its early conception, Midwest Fest used to be a summer festival in July, which didn’t make sense to Densmore, who saw a decrease in student attendance.
After Midwest Fest departed from its traditional location at Rubbles last year, changes were made.
The bands performed on two rotating stages during transitions for three nights, as opposed to the five nights that used to comprise the festival.
“It was too many nights in a row of trying to expect people to come to the bar,” Densmore said. “The typical bar night in a college town is Thursday, Friday and Saturday. It makes sense to keep them that way.”
Running from 8:30 p.m. – 2 a.m. each night, a total of 27 bands were booked, with a three-band quick-off party last Wednesday. Thursday through Saturday showcased eight bands each day, with its biggest crowd arriving on Friday night.
“We’ve got a little bit of everything; the headliners this year range from electronic,pop, punk rock, high-energy and even hip-hop,” Densmore said.
Last year was the first year Midwest Fest hosted a hip-hop act, but it was not from the lack of trying, Densmore said. There were hardly any that applied.
However, this year included two hip-hop bands to make up for lost time.
Of all the bands that filtered in and out of Hunter’s Ale House, six included students and alumni. Some came from Lansing, others from Detroit, while the farthest one traveled from Oklahoma.
One man band
From the far-reaching edges of the Midwest came the band known as Young Readers. As a one-man band traveling, the lead singer finds a local drummer to perform with him at each showing.
Jordan Herrera started playing violin when he was three years old and has since written and played songs. Originally, he wasn’t supposed to play. Herrera was first on the waiting list and was put on hold.
In late June, the stars aligned, and he was called up when some of the other out-of-state bands were unable to make it.
“I really like Michigan,” Herrera said. “I’ve applied for Mitten Fest a couple times and heard of Midwest through them.”
The creativity of the name Young Readers goes along with the band’s album cover, “Family Trees.”
The CD is printed on construction paper, giving it the appearance of a coloring book.
With each copy comes a small set of crayons the listener can use to color the front and the word search on the back.
After a tough decision between what he loved and what he was pressured into, Herrera dropped out of Oklahoma State University to tour around the country.
“I was going for music composition, but they ended up fitting me into six hours of violin music,” he said. “I had a couple of shows when I should’ve been in class, so my private lesson teacher told me, ‘you don’t belong here, it’s like fitting a square peg into a round hole.’”