The loose theme for this year’s Chrysler Arts, Beats & Eats music lineup could be “If you missed ’em last time ...” A number of the Pontiac Labor Day weekend festival’s acts, particularly on the Michigan Lottery Stage for headliners, will be headed to Oakland after recent visits to the metro area.
Former Grand Funk Railroad frontman Mark Farner, for instance, played Mount Clemens’ Stars & Stripes Festival in June, and he opens on Aug. 31 for Big Head Todd & the Monsters, who played at the DTE Energy Music Festival in early July.
The difference in nearly every case, of course, is that this time they’ll be free — and part of something much larger. Arts, Beats & Eats will host more than 220 performances on eight stages this year, adding the new Stoli International Stage to feature world music sounds from China, the Caribbean, South America, Cuba, the Middle East, eastern Europe and Celtic territories.
Others that will head to Arts, Beats & Eats include: Sept. 1 headliner the Gin Blossoms, who also played at Stars & Stripes; R&B singer Brian McKnight on Sept. 1, who follows a May show at Detroit’s Fox Theatre; Rick Braun’s Jazz Attack package on Sept. 2, which also played in June at this year’s Smooth JazzFest in Southfield; hard rockers Chevelle, coming back Sept. 2 after an April performance at the Emerald Theatre in Mount Clemens
Other national acts on the Michigan Lottery Stage include Starship featuring Mickey Thomas and Fair to Midland, while Labor Day’s closing night will feature a country mix of Blake Shelton, Jake Owen and the duo Bomshel.
But the vast majority of Arts, Beats & Eats’ performers — more than 200 — will be local bands and artists, including regulars such as Stewart Francke, David McMurray, Larry Lee & the Back in the Day Band, Paper Street Saints, Thunderbirds Are Now!, Ugly, the Prime Ministers, Thornetta Davis, the Tim Diaz Band and many others.
The Meijer Kid Stage, meanwhile, will host its usual array of magicians, clowns, animal exhibitions and puppet shows, along with a children’s oriented jazz concert on Labor Day.
Arts, Beats & Eats runs 4-11 p.m. Aug. 31, 10 a.m.-11 p.m. Sept. 1 and 2, and 10 a.m.-8 p.m. on Labor Day. Music schedules and other festival information can be found at www.artsbeatseats.com or by calling (248) 975-8850.
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