Willie Nelson & Family at Rock the Rapids, Grand Rapids, MI (8/10/11)


by: Steve Kelso

Over six nights, musical heavyweights will  Rock The Rapids, and for the first time in the festival’s history, it will happen in downtown Grand Rapids.

Willie Nelson, Jonny Lang, Stone Temple Pilots, Ludacris, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Bomshel, Robert Randolph, Rose Hill Drive, Wayland, Alice Cooper, Blake Shelton, T Pain and Due Diligence will appear at Rock the Rapids, beginning August 8. Concerts begin at 7 p.m.

Promoter  Denny Baxter previously staged the event at Fifth Third Ballpark   in Comstock Park, but petitioned the Grand Rapids City Commission in February to bring the multi-day event to the city.

“(The ballpark has) been a great incubator, but it’s time to move,” Baxter said at the time. “I’d like to see ticket prices as low as $10,” Baxter told commissioners.

Commissioners liked what they were heard and OK’d the plan. However, the least expensive single-day admission ticket is $29, according to the Rock The Rapids website.

Concerts will be held  in what’s being dubbed Festival Village,   an area bordered by Oakes Street, the Business US-131 entrance ramp, Cherry Street and Grandville Avenue.

On August 13 – the final day of the festival – a free event at Rosa Parks Circle will feature entertainment for both adults and kids, plus food.  The Mixing Pot, as it’s called is designed to turn downtown Grand Rapids “into a melting pot of people from our community,” organizers said on the website. It begins at noon and runs until 10 p.m.

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