Crash Detroit slams into the weekend with free and spontaneous performances

Melody Baetens
The Detroit News
The main event of the Crash Detroit festival is Saturday during the day at Clark Park.

Bring on the brass, Crash Detroit returns this weekend for another stomping, raucous festival of unplugged street bands. 

It's one of those events that you want to know about if you're interested in New Orleans-style parade ensembles, marching bands or street musicians. If you were hoping to quietly read a book or catch up with an old friend at one of these locations this weekend, then this information may be helpful to you for another reason. 

Crash Detroit, which started in 2014, will kick things off with a strolling concert Friday night throughout Detroit proper with bands from Detroit and across the region. The music will be spontaneous and unannounced in bars and other local businesses and in public spaces. So if you're out on the town Friday and suddenly hear a tuba, snare drum or piccolo coming you way, know that it's just Crash Detroit. 

"Friday night, it's hard to anticipate, it's impromptu," said co-organizer James Hartrick, who plays trombone in the Detroit Party Marching Band, which has about two dozen members. "We bring the bands around town and we have liaisons from the Detroit Party Marching band leading these bands around the city." 

For some hints, follow the festival along on Twitter Friday night: @Crash_Detroit. 

Volunteer-run music festival Crash Detroit features brass-heavy bands from Detroit and elsewhere.

The main event is Saturday at Clark Park during the day, a family-friendly event where bands perform at the auditorium. There are activities set up for kids, such as a musical instrument petting zoo and "instrument creation stations" where kids can build their own working instrument from scraps. 

Locally-based bands on the schedule include the Detroit Party Marching Band, Motor City Soul Street Band, klezmer band Klezundheit and the eclectic Post Imperial Jazz Band.

Local bands play host to all-female drum corp Bitch Thunder from Toledo, the Jefferson St. Parade Band from Indiana, Atlanta's Black Sheep Ensemble and experimental band Bombici of Pittsburgh. There also will be three bands from Massachusetts: the Party Band, Emperor Norton's Stationary Marching Band and the Second Line Social Aid & Pleasure Society Brass Band. 

Hartrick estimates that as many as 1,000 people could come and go during the day Saturday. 

After the family-friend day party at Clark Park from 2-9 p.m., the bands will move to the Old Miami in the Cass Corridor for a 21-and-older concert at the bar. 

On Sunday, there will be a mix of families and the bar crowd at the Dequindre Cut Freight Yard, where several of the bands will perform again. All ages are welcome here and there will be a bar and food trucks. 

Hartrick said the whole point of volunteer-run festivals like this is to get involved in the community and get younger people excited about instrumental music.

Twitter: @melodybaetens



Spontaneous concerts at various locations, all over Detroit, 7-9 p.m. 


Crash Detroit 2019 Festival with performances and kids activities, Clark Park, 1130 Clark in Detroit, 2-8 p.m. Free

Crash Detroit 2019 Showcase with performances, Old Miami, 3930 Cass in Detroit, 9 p.m.-2 a.m. $10


Crash in the Cut 2019 performances, Dequindre Cut Freight Yard, 1905 Alfred in Detroit, 2-6 p.m. Free for more information 

Crash Detroit features bands from Detroit and the region performing and locations throughout the city this weekend.