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A.B.E. Festival, Royal Oak, MI - Sept. 3, 2016

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A.B.E. Festival, Royal Oak, MI - Sept. 3, 2016

Postby Hugh23 » 8/10/2016, 7:49 pm

The Arts, Beats & Eats Festival takes place every year over the long Labor Day weekend in Royal Oak, Michigan. Royal Oak is a suburban city about a 20 minute drive north of Detroit on I-75. Royal Oak is a popular entertainment destination for the Detroit area. It is well known for its downtown area full of literally over 100 independent retail shops, restaurants and bars. Thursday through Sunday on summer evenings, Royal Oak is full of 18-35 y/o's out on the town for a night of eating, drinking and dancing. Royal Oak is very safe with good police and fire/ems protection.

The Arts, Beats & Eats festival promoters have a contract with the city of Royal Oak to close the downtown area to motor vehicle traffic for the four days of the festival. The festival concentrates on the three things in its name. Long stretches of the city streets are filled with art vendors located on each curb selling their individually created art pieces. Festival goers walk down the center of city streets and stop at vendor tents to view the goods. Other stretches of city streets have food vendors filling each side. Think of a type of food you like and it will most likely be there. Interspersed among all these vendors are 10 smaller stages featuring every type of music (eg. rock, blues, soul, reggae, alternative, ...). There is a large main stage for the national music acts. There is a carnival area with rides and games for teens and middle schoolers along with an area with kiddie rides for toddlers. The festival footprint is large, but very walkable. Only park in official A.B.E parking lots and approved areas. The Royal Oak police a have notorious parking enforcement crew. They will write you a very expensive parking ticket or tow your vehicle within 15 minutes of you leaving your car. Be warned!

The daily cost to enter the festival is $3 USD ($5 USD after 3pm). There is a weekend pass option, but I don't know the cost. You must have food and drink tickets to make purchases from the vendors. The food and drink ticket price is $10 USD for 16 tickets. Food and drink purchases are 3-6 tickets per purchase for a plate of food. I'm not exactly sure, but I believe a glass of wine or beer is 6 tickets for festival goers who are 21 y/o. You may walk anywhere in the downtown area with your alcoholic beverage as long as you remain inside the festival footprint. All of the brick and mortar retail shops, restaurant and bars inside the festival footprint will be open. Most of the places have A/C and make a nice respite on a hot, sunny day.

Concerts on the main stage begin when the festival opens each day and must end by 11:30pm. In theory, you could arrive at the A.B.E. Festival at 6pm on Saturday, September 3rd and pay the $5 entry fee. Then for 3 hours you could eat the food and browse the art. Around 9pm go to main stage area and secure your spot in the huge GA parking lot in front of the stage and watch JR JR (formerly Dale Earnhardt Jr Jr) perform before the main act of the night, Our Lady Peace at 10pm! As I mentioned, the bands must end their play by 11:30pm. You might get a full OLP concert for the cost of your $5 admission to the festival. There is a small VIP area in the center of the main stage which holds about 100 people with folding chairs to sit if you want. The VIP area is secured with a low fence and security. The VIP area is GA. You must purchase an additional concert ticket to enter the VIP area. A VIP ticket is $35 USD + fees and taxes. I purchased 2 tickets to the VIP area for my wife and myself. The total was $82 USD.`The purchase of a VIP concert ticket includes the entrance fee to the festival. The huge parking lot will hold 5000+ fans on a sunny day with no forecast of rain. Rain will diminish the festival and concert attendance. On a sunny Labor Day Weekend with no rain, 400,000 festival goers have attended the festival over four days. On a rainy Labor Day Weekend, total attendance at the festival can be cut in half to 200,000 attendees over four days.

You may wonder why I know so much about Royal Oak, MI and the A.B.E. Festival. I am employed by the Royal Oak Fire Dept. as a Sergeant/Paramedic. I have helped provide EMS and fire protection to the festival for the past 5 years the festival has been in Royal Oak. Luckily, I'm not scheduled to work my 24 hour shift on that day and I won't volunteer for festival overtime as I want to see OLP perform. This festival is very professional and well organized. The Ford Motor Company sponsors the entire event and the Michigan Lottery is the sponsor of the main stage national music acts. The Royal Oak Police Dept. and the Michigan State Police will have a very visible presence throughout the festival footprint. You are encouraged to have fun eating, drinking, singing and dancing to all the musical acts. It's also fun to people watch. If you act responsibly and don't cause a disturbance which bothers others, the police will not interact with you. If you cause a disturbance or have a medical emergency, myself or one of my contemporaries will deal with you appropriately. Maybe I will meet you there. I'm so excited to see OLP in my fire department's backyard!

Main A.B.E. Festival page: http://artsbeatseats.com/

Main Stage Weekend Concert Schedule: http://artsbeatseats.com/beats/ (This page has the link to the limited VIP tickets).
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Re: A.B.E. Festival, Royal Oak, MI - Sept. 3, 2016

Postby xjsb125 » 8/12/2016, 8:17 am

Thanks, Hugh! Sounds like an excellent event.
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Re: A.B.E. Festival, Royal Oak, MI - Sept. 3, 2016

Postby Hugh23 » 9/4/2016, 1:17 am

1. Rabbits
2.Superman's Dead
3.Innocent
4. Monkey Brains
5. Paper Moon / Life
6. Heavyweight
7. One Man Army
8. R. K. 2029 / In Repair
9. Is Anybody Home?
10. Somewhere Out There
11. Clumsy


12. 4am
13. Naveed
14. Starseed

The weather was so beautiful for an outdoor festival concert. In Royal Oak, MI, the location for last night's Our Lady Peace performance, the entire day was sunny with low humidity and no wind. This caused the festival director to announce before OLP took the stage that the A.B.E. Festival established its highest one day attendance record. The director stated 125,000 people came through the gates. I am here to attest that many of these festival goers remained to see OLP, the Saturday night headliners. Our favorite band rocked out with one of the best performances I have witnessed on the Michigan Lottery National Stage. A 70 minute show which could be witnessed for the $5 entrance fee to the festival. My wife and I purchased VIP tickets which allowed us access to the front, center of the stage. We were positioned three rows from the front and directly in front of Raine. The VIP area was sold out and the GA area was packed tightly with fans standing shoulder to shoulder. There was an excited and electric vibe in the air as 10pm approached and the fans knew OLP would soon take the stage. All the instruments were in place as the final sound check was almost complete.

Suddenly, from an over head speaker on the stage, a voice could be heard communicating with the on stage technicians. It was the sound board at the back stating they couldn't read the drum set. It took the techs almost 20 minutes to straighten things out. The fans became frustrated as we realized OLP's playing time was being reduced by the technical glitch and the festival's strict 11:30pm curfew. Thankfully, the director announced that the Police Chief would allow an extension of the curfew so OLP could play their entire set. Finally, the band took the stage with Raine waiting off in the wings. The guys tuned their instruments and looked ready to play when Jason Pierce, the drummer, got up from his drum kit and walked over to the on stage sound board. Apparently, the drum issue wasn't fixed and Jason, Raine and Duncan Coutts surrounded the sound board tech to figure out what was wrong. This left Steve Mazur on stage by himself in an awkward moment. Steve began to play melodic jazz-like melodies on his guitar as time ticked on with no fix. Suddenly, Steve began to play a familiar guitar lick which everyone had heard before, but didn't recognize it at first. He continued to play it when many fans caught on and sang the first verse of the theme to Can You Tell Me How to Get to Sesame Street? He played it two more times and everyone sang along. He stopped and said he couldn't remember the bridge and that's why we had to repeat the first verse. Everyone had a good chuckle and it took the edge off as the drum problem was finally fixed. Little did we know that sound issues would plague the night, but not ruin a fantastic band effort.

As the concert progressed, the band's energy and showmanship increased, as the fans sang along with Raine. OLP seemed to be moved by the fans very positive response to the music. Steve was on fire during his many guitar solos. He evoked large cheers from the fans for his passionate playing. Duncan Coutts is always active as a bass player. Tonight I have never seen him play with such energy. He was bouncing all around and having such fun. I remember watching Duncan play during, Is Anybody Home? As Raine belted out his lyrics, Duncan sings a harmony background behind Raine. It goes, "Oooo weee oooo, oooo weee, oooo weee oooo, ooo weee". I hope you know what I'm referring too. At this part of Duncan's harmony, the fans sang along with Duncan instead of Raine. Each time it happened, a huge grin appeared on Duncan's face. I loved it! I may have mentioned on this board before that I really enjoy the way Jason Pierce plays the drums. He plays with an aggressive style and it appears to me that he is a new, permanent member of the band.

Raine would not be out done by his bandmates. He sang with emotion and his usual vocal flair. At this show I noticed Raine was singing in a lower key. He hit all of his falsetto notes, but again in the lower key. At times Raine remained behind the center stage mic, but more often than not he was roaming about or jumping in the air as he placed emphasis on a lyric. Just before the start of Somewhere Out There, Raine told a funny story about being in Royal Oak, MI after OLP signed its first record contract. He said the band had this funny, old record agent who traveled with them. Raine continued that OLP had a gig to warm up for Sponge at the tiny 1700 person capacity Royal Oak Music Theatre (ROMT) just a couple of blocks away from where this concert was taking place. The agent was giving Raine a walk through of the venue and the agent told Raine if the band kept working hard, maybe they could headline the ROMT someday. Raine laughed at the irony of playing before 6000+ fans right then.

Eventually the 11:30pm curfew arrived. Raine said, "If we had started on time, we would have left the stage hoping you fans would applaud us back for an encore. Instead we're gonna keep on playing if that's OK with you". The fans responded with a thunderous roar. That is why I left a space in my set list above. The last three songs sealed the deal for me. Raine's voice oozed angst and regret as he sang 4am, Naveed and Starseed. I haven't heard Naveed live in a while and it was a real highlight for me.

I wish I could say there was no downside to the evening, but there was. Almost every time Raine sang into his mic, there was a low feed back crackle which the band and the fans could hear. It hampered the audio portion of the show, but none of the guys let this glitch affect them as each of them gave a spirited and talented performance. Unfortunately, this experience only heightened my need to see OLP live again. I'm looking forward to seeing two OLPxIME shows in October.
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Re: A.B.E. Festival, Royal Oak, MI - Sept. 3, 2016

Postby xjsb125 » 9/4/2016, 8:41 am

That sucks about the audio problems. Thanks for the excellent review! Hopefully your shows in Ontario will be much better.
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Re: A.B.E. Festival, Royal Oak, MI - Sept. 3, 2016

Postby Hugh23 » 9/7/2016, 5:15 pm

Waiting for the show to begin:
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