Stoopfest, Lansing's own local music festival, has worked as an avenue for emerging artists on the Michigan music scene and is back for 2022 after its pandemic-related hiatus with a full and exciting lineup coming April 22-23.
The festival was announced in association and sponsorship with Impact FM, promoting the music that they believe reaches the prime audience of their radio station.
"This is a great avenue for us to get back to our core … as a great alternative radio station that is highlighting the cool and the weird and the unique of the Michigan area," communications master student and Impact FM's station manager George McNeil said.
McNeil said that the partnership with Stoopfest is able to reflect their own views and their core focus on the local music scene, especially in the wake of the pandemic when local music has been in limbo with the changing and compromising of promoting live shows. The return of this festival is able to reignite this platform for highlighting local artistry and creativity.
"The Michigan music scene can be an epicenter for strong creativity that can appeal to a larger audience," McNeil said. "It’s right in the backyard of MSU and the entire region. We’re just excited to be apart of it."
Media and information senior Abbi Wynsma, the live music director and head of the Basement at Impact FM, knows that the music festival will help kickstart these local artists on the lineup, especially with Impact having the opportunity to do interviews and cover what these artists have coming up.
"That’s the cool thing about Michigan musicians and artists, you think that you know all that you can and there were actually a lot of things on there that I had never heard of," Wynsma said.
While many have felt disconnected from the music scene during the pandemic and have fallen into a pit of only listening to established favorites, the festival is coming back to change these habits.
"There’s opportunities here because some of them are local that you can go ‘Hey I really like this group’ and you can go and see them again and again because, fingers crossed, they will be performing continually throughout the year," journalism senior Kyle Davidson, a DJ for Impact FM, said.
Many of the artists on the lineup are not only local artists, but bands that have been introduced to Michigan State through Impact and their basement shows such as Rent Strike, a band featured often on the station.
One headliner that has been in high demand by the organizers for years includes Sidney Gish, a DIY artist who has been able to make a name for herself with over 300,000 monthly Spotify listeners.
Other artists are recurring acts of the festival such as the Screaming Females.
While these headliners are well-known in the alternative music realm, the festival still focuses on expanding music knowledge. The organization gets hundreds of bands who submit to play at the festival and their administration listens to every one of their submissions to enhance the music their audience comes out to hear.
"The innovation and unique sounds that we’re going to hear at Stoopfest; these aren’t coming out of nowhere … this energy has been around for years,” McNeil said.
While this music festival follows the pattern of exploring genres and artists of the area, its model is unique and stands out from others. Bands are not only set up on stages in local music venues but in houses and basements, bringing the music to the heart of Lansing, Davidson said.
"I think that mix of spaces encompassing an entire neighborhood rather than just one area really makes the festival stand out," head organizer of Stoopfest Dom Korzsecke said.
Stoopfest also stands out from other large festivals in an important and artist-centered way: It is nonprofit. All the money goes to supporting the local artists and paying for venue spaces, supporting the businesses of Lansing, Korzsecke said.
"It is very much a 'do-it-yourself' mindset and mentality through and through," McNeil said. "Performers are choosing to perform and create."
While live music has been back for a minute, a lot of people still have not attended live shows out of fear. With COVID-19 still on the horizon with the emerging Omicron variant, the festival will be looking different from years past.
"With COVID still raging, we’re changing some things up to make it as COVID-safe as possible and it's gonna look a little different than usual because of that," Korzsecke said. "We’re getting rid of the sets that happen in basements and living rooms and swapping those out for backyards and garages.”
Korzsecke said that the relocation of performances and exhibits to as many outdoor venues as possible to maintain ventilation and reduce the COVID-19 risk is one of the most important challenges to focus on in this festival.
While fighting against this risk with no festival for the past two years, Stoopfest is back to giving the local music scene the main stage once again.
"To be able to experience live music again and be surrounded in an environment that you really enjoy, I think that will be the most fun part for everybody,” Wynsma said.
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