Hamtramck Music Festival, a showcase for diverse talent, begins Thursday

Darlene A. White
Special to The Detroit News

There will be no need to turn on your radio this weekend if you are in the city of Hamtramck. Live music from pop to rock will blast through the streets as the city kicks off the seventh annual Hamtramck Music Festival.

About 190 bands will take over 23 venues in the city Thursday through Saturday. Performance venues range from bars to cafés — even the Hamtramck Public Library. 

This year’s festival will celebrate Metro Detroit’s diverse music community.

Mariachi punk duo Pancho Villa's Skull performs at the Hamtramck Music Festival Friday at 10:30 p.m. at the Painted Lady Lounge.

Concertgoers can enjoy three days of live music, with most shows requiring revelers to be at least 18 years old. There also will be daytime family friendly performances. 

The Hamtramck Music Festival is the largest event of its kind in Michigan, says Rebecca Goldberg, techno producer and a festival DJ. 

“Hamtramck Music Fest is a pillar event for our community and beyond,” Goldberg said. “Aside from being the largest showcase of the best of Detroit’s music scene, it is a fundraising event for our local students. We are directly passing the torch of creative opportunity.” 

Girl Fight is a local feminist punk duo.

This year’s venues include the Detroit Record Club, Nosh Pit Detroit, Peoples Records and Underground Vinyl. 

Eugene Strobe, a Hamtramck Music Festival co-organizer, says his focus has been making sure that this year’s festival is one to remember. 

“This event is so important for the community, because it is a showcase for all of the diverse musical talent in the metro-area and throughout Michigan,” he said. “Having Hamtramck as the focal point is also a way to bring business into the community and attract new people to the area.”

Danny Darling plays at 11:30 p.m. Saturday at Whiskey in the Jar as part of the Hamtramck Music Festival.

During the three-day occasion, all donated festival proceeds will go to Hamtramck Public Schools music and arts programs.

“As our mission, we use the proceeds of the festival to acquire music instruments and art supplies for Hamtramck Public School students,” Strobe said. “The reason we created this festival was to celebrate our cultural music heritage, give back to our community and invest in the music and art education of our youth. Also put on a music fest powered by volunteerism and a pro-active citizenry.”

Victoria Washington, 23, of Hazel Park says she is thrilled to experience the musical celebration.

Jakdd is at the Hamtramck Music Festival at 10:45 p.m. Saturday night at Kelly's Bar

“My friends and I have seen a lot of promo on Facebook and Twitter about this festival. This will be our first time going and we are too excited to walk around and listen to new music,” Washington laughed. “We love music and supporting local artist is our thing, so we will definitely come out to support — even if it’s just one day over the weekend.”

The cost of admission is $15, which includes an all-weekend wristband that provides access to the live entertainment.

Since the music festival has many different venues hosting performers throughout the weekend, SMART bus will provide free shuttle service on the routes of the festival for attendees, from 8 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. Friday and Saturday.

Kate Hinote Trio performs at the Cafe 1923 at 6 p.m. Saturday as part of the Hamtramck Music Festival.

“Our goal was to make the fest accessible and enjoyable for everyone throughout the community,” Strobe said. 

The HMF is still in need of volunteers to assist during the musical weekend. Applications forms for volunteer services are on the Hamtramck Music Festival website. 

To buy tickets or to volunteer, visit Hamtramckmusicfest.com.

Detroit punk/garage band the Stools

Hamtramck Music Festival


24 bars, venues and restaurants throughout the city

For tickets or how to volunteer, visit: Hamtramckmusicfest.com