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Founders Fest expands lineup, adds second stage

With an increased budget for two stages, more bands than ever and additional space for artist booths, Founders Fest 2012 seeks to have its biggest year in its five year existence.
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Music Lineup and Vendors


9:40pm – Soulive
7:55pm – Toubab Krewe
6:35pm – FBC All Stars
5:15pm – That 1 Guy
3:55pm – Seth & May and Friends



8:45pm – Ultraviolet Hippopotamus
7:15pm – Four Finger Five
5:55pm – Crane Wives
4:35pm – Afro Zuma
3:15pm – The Soil and the Sun



The Cottage Bar,

Sami’s Pita House

The Corner Bar of Rockford

What the Truck

Mi Tierra Mexican Restaurant

Founders Fest 2011

Founders Fest 2011 /Bryan Esler

Poster for Founders Fest 2012

Poster for Founders Fest 2012 /Courtesy of Founders Brewing

This Saturday, Founders Brewing Company will be hosting their fifth annual Founders Fest in front of their brewery at 235 Grandville. The festival starts at 3 p.m. and will include local food, art, Founders beer, and live music until the event ends at 11 p.m.

“Founders Fest is our annual party, when we get the opportunity to celebrate our success with the community that got us here, right on the streets of Downtown Grand Rapids in front of our facility," explains Mark Dorich, director of retail operations for Founders.

“Celebrating that success in our community is very important to us, as it is the people of the Grand Rapids area that got us here, and we like to have a party each year to share in the good times with them all,” says Dorich.

This year, for the first time, the event will have two music stages set up. According to Dorich, this allows them to accomplish three things.

“For one, we’re able to include more acts than ever. Secondly, it allows the bands themselves, as well as the stage and sound crews more time to handle the change-over in between acts. And finally, probably the most important aspect is that it allows us to offer virtually non-stop entertainment, as the two stages will be adjacent to each other, alternating back and forth,” says Dorich.

The festival has a multi-faceted approach to the music lineup this year.

“First off, we like to include a handful of the local and regional acts who have done a fabulous job performing in our Taproom throughout the year,” says Dorich. "The local and regional bands that will be performing include progressive jam-band Ultraviolet Hippopotamus, folk-rock band Four Finger Five, afro-beat collective Afro Zuma as well as several others.

“All of these groups have had a tremendous amount of success with us over the past year or more, and are very good friends of Founders. For Ultraviolet Hippopotamus and Four Finger Five, this is even more special as both bands were on the bill at the first Founders Fest five years ago,” says Dorich.

The second part of their lineup approach includes finding headlining and national bands that any attendee will enjoy. The headliner this year is Soulive, a jazz funk trio from New York.

“[Soulive] is a perfect example of the type of act that we feel can be enjoyed my many, regardless to whether they are familiar with the band or not,” says Dorich. “They have the raw talent to keep the bodies moving, and the crowd dancing in the street.”

Two other national acts will be performing at the festival, including West African-inspired Americana rockers Toubab Krewe.

“Toubab Krewe is one of the most diverse and different bands out there. They take traditional American Roots music and blend it with West African sounds, beats and instrumentation,” says Dorich.

The final piece to their music approach comes from including The FBC All Stars, a band comprised of all Founders family members.

“The FBC All Stars is a ‘super group’ of Founders Employees who come together to perform a set full of surprise covers each year at Founders Fest,” says Dorich

According to Dorich, this year should be the most well attended Founders Fest so far, with expected attendance around 6,000 people.

“The space of the event layout has increased, as has the number of vendors, artists and entertainers,” says Dorich. “With the growth of the event, we’ve increased our budget alongside, allowing us to bring in bigger and better acts, while not forgetting about all of those local and regional groups that have been a part of our success over the years. We’re really looking forward to it!”

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