Fretboard Festival Returns to Kalamazoo



A Play-In Contest that serves as a precursor to the 2013 Kalamazoo Fretboard Festival runs from 5 to 8 p.m. on March 1 at the Kalamazoo Valley Museum. Contestants will play for 10 minutes at the contest. Winners will be selected to play a 60-minute set at 11:30 a.m. at the Fretboard Festival on March 23, 2013.

The following musicians or bands are performing during the March 1 Play-In Contest: David Youngman; A Third Estate; I AM BAND; Bryan Warren; The Class Acts; Chris Rawlins; Trodden Embers; Combat Corduroy; The Mittenauts; Nicholas James Thomasma; North Country Flyers; and Peat in the Creel.

The contest judges will be: Robin Cunningham from SMASH Magazine BC Smash; Brandy Gulley, Kalamazoo Local Music; Ken Lanphear, host of the morning show 106.5 WKFM; Julee Laurent, lead vocalist for the Michigan City Vandals; and Isaac Turner, Kalamazoo Valley Community College History of Rock and Roll instructor and member of the band MINUTES.

The 2013 Fretboard Festival is set for March 22-23, 2013 at the Kalamazoo Valley Museum and Anna Whitten Hall in downtown Kalamazoo. The festival, now in its 8th year, features performances by stringed instrument virtuosos, instructional workshops for those who want to learn to play, and family-oriented activities. This yearly event is a salute to all stringed instruments – especially those that are crafted in this part of Michigan. The festival, which takes its name from the portion of a stringed instrument that allows a variety of notes to be played, will spotlight guitars, banjos, hammered dulcimers, ukuleles, and mandolins, along with musicians who use them and the craftsmen who make them. The event kicks off on Friday night with a 7 p.m. concert by the alternative/blues/rock band Fly Paper. With soulful vocals, fiercely elegant guitars, and a high energy rhythm section, Fly Paper never fail to amaze and inspire crowds throughout the country with their original songs. Micaela's voice is often compared to that of Fiona Apple and KT Tunstall.

A total of 13 bands are scheduled to perform on Saturday.

Mary Jane Stryker Theater

In the Mary Jane Stryker Theater, Neil Jacobs, 12-string guitarist, performs from noon to 1:00 p.m. This Grand Haven-based musician plays Gypsy, World, Balkan Folk, Jazz, Classical and Modern Fingerstyle. For more information, go to The Hired Hands Band takes the stage from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. The Kalamazoo-based band plays positive, upbeat live music covering many genres, including Blues, Folk, Country, Rock and R&B. The Washington Township-based rock and blues band Hatchetmen performs from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m.

Anna Whitten Hall

On the stage at Anna Whitten Hall, next door to the Museum, the Play-In Contest Winner performs from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Next up at Anna Whitten Hall is Marble Garden from 1 to 2 p.m. The Kalamazoo-based jam band plays Blues, Rock, Funk, and Fusion.

Roots-based jam band Electric Jug Band, also from Kalamazoo, plays from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. The Kalamazoo rock and roll band Suckerpush plays from 4 to 5 p.m. This Kalamazoo-based band has released two CDs and has had national radio exposure.

Museum Stage

On the Museum Stage, Kalamazoo’s Seventh Son Blues Band performs from 11 a.m. to noon.

Who Hit John?, a Kalamazoo band that plays original old time tunes, performs from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m.

The Kalamazoo River Monsters perform from 2 to 3 p.m. The band’s music is described as Organic Reggae, Rock, Funk and Folk.

The Flint-based band Covert performs rock, jam-grass and funk from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m.

Kalamazoo’s Top Heavy will perform rock, blues, funk and R&B from 5 to 6 p.m. at the Museum Stage.

A total of nine workshops are also being offered. They will be held in Anna Whitten Hall. BenJammin, Educational Music with BenJammin & Analisa Gauthier, 11 a.m. to noon in room 306; Bass Guitar Clinic with Bill Clements, 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. in room 306; Beginners Guide to the Mandolin, presented by Miles Kusik, 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in room 307; “From the Open Strings to the 5th Position of the Fretted Board,” presented by René Meave, 1 to 2 p.m. in room 307; “History and Technique of Slide Guitar,” presented by Angelo Santelli, 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. in room 307; a Hawaiian Steel Guitar Workshop presented by Gerald Ross, 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. in room 308; “Kalamazoo Gals: The Story of the Extraordinary Women Who Built Gibson’s WWII Banner Guitars,” presented by John Thomas, 3 to 4 p.m. in room 308; Traditional Fingerstyle Blues, presented by John Speeter, 2 to 3 p.m. in room 309; and a presentation about the Gibson Oral History Project with Kalamazoo Valley Community College instructor and musician Jay Gavan, 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. in room 309.

A total of 33 vendors are also attending the festival. The list includes Amelia's by Design, Arrowhead Entertainment, BenJammin Educational Music, Cosgrove Guitar Studio, LLC, Boheme Tribal Belly Dance, Craneomatic Production Company/Studio, Crescendo Academy of Music, Doolittle Guitars, FE Tellier Guitars, Great Lakes Academy of Guitar Building, Great Lakes Acoustic Music Association, Heritage Guitars, Kalamazoo Gals, Kalamazoo Local Music, Kalamazoo Valley Blues Association, KalamazUkes Ukulele Club, K’Zoo Folklife Organization, Kzoo Music Scene, Lotsa Little Things Gallery, Marshall Music Co., Midwest Printing & Promotions, LLC, Rock Addict Radio, Rock Built Banjos, Second Wave Media, SMASH MAGAZINE, Sola Gratia Custom Bass Guitars, Swanson Guitars, Talsma String Instruments, Vandenbos Painting, Washtub Ted’s Basses, W.Michael Siegel Luthier and Music Studio, WIDR FM 89.1 and WMUK 102.1 FM.

For more details, see the festival website at The Kalamazoo Valley Museum is operated by Kalamazoo Valley Community College and governed by its Board of Trustees.