Founders Fest 2011 6.18.11

Words & Photos By Greg Molitor (ReMIND Photography)
Beer and music… two of humankind’s finest creations. When combined, it doesn’t get much better. Founders Fest, an annual event held at Founders Brewery in Grand Rapids, Michigan, brought the folks out for a Saturday celebration that was impressive in crowd size and spirit. When there’s beer in the cards, it doesn’t take much to convince me to show up and shwill a few.
Apparently every other beer lover in Michigan was using my logic because Founders Fest was slammed with people. Was it the delicious beer, maybe the music, perhaps the twenty dollar steal-of-an entrance fee that made people turn out? These are all possible, but most likely, it was spirit of Zach Morris that beckoned the masses to attend…

Yes, even Mark-Paul Gosselaar enjoys getting ham’ed on the Founders sauce. Unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to kick one back with him, but the rest of the evening’s events were more than enough to make the festival worth my hour drive.

I arrived around 7:00 PM to hear Terrapin Flyer diggin’ into a “Shakedown Street” opener. For a Grateful Dead tribute band, Terrapin Flyer holds it down for an enjoyable experience. It helped that Melvin Seals of was Jerry Garcia Band sat in for the entire set, lending his tasty organ licks that created a full, swelling sound during the timeless classics. Just when the band began to really get after it, the set ended abruptly as they had run out of time. I thought their set was far too short but that’s the way it goes with festival slots.

Rubblebucket followed Terrapin Flyer and I was immediately drawn to their music. With a captivating, passionate stage presence that had me wondering where they had been my whole life, the Brooklyn-based band took a unconventional yet fresh and exciting approach to funk and afrobeat forms. Although the band had a highly developed sound with layers of textures and effects, there was something inherently human about their performance that connected me to their output from the opening notes of the set to its conclusion.

Galactic closed out Founders Fest to the delight of the masses who had waited to see the New Orleans funk collective. Having seen Galactic numerous times, I’ve come to realize that they’re not my cup of tea. I tried my best to get down to the band’s performance at Founders Fest, but the band doesn’t change up their material enough to hold my attention for an entire set. The crowd was plenty greased up by this point with folks dancing to the brass-driven grooves of the jam veterans.

Even if I’m not feeling a show, it still brings a smile to my face when I see people enjoying themselves. This was the case during Galactic’s set... if someone’s having fun, I’m down for the cause. After the music ended around 11:00 PM, I gathered my wits and wandered off with friends. Towards the street lights we went feeling wholly satisfied with the event. I had a blast, and I’ll certainly be back for Founders Fest 2012.


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