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Frankie Ballard, STP and more gas up the entertainment at Detroit's Grand Prix

Melody Baetens
The Detroit News
Frankie Ballard performs on the main stage at Faster Horses.

Rock and roll and cars have always gone hand in hand, and this weekend’s Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix races on Belle Isle are no exception. 

While the vehicles gear up to whiz by the spectators, the Meijer Fan Zone is home to a lineup of live music that include headliners Frankie Ballard and Stone Temple Pilots. Most of the bands, even the national acts, have Michigan ties.

Country and blues artist Frankie Ballard is a native of Battle Creek. He’ll close things out on Saturday with a set around 6 p.m. You may know his singles “Helluva Life,” “Sunshine & Whiskey” and “Young & Crazy,” all which went to No. 1 on the U.S. Country Airplay chart. 

On Sunday, 1990s rock gods the Stone Temple Pilots will perform in the early afternoon. The Grammy Award-winning foursome is known for the hits “Plush,” “Interstate Love Song,” “Big Empty” and more. Considered one of the voices of his generation, original frontman Scott Weiland died in 2015. 

Marine City’s own Jeff Gutt joined STP in 2017 as its lead singer. He joins the founding lineup of drummer Eric Kretz and brothers Dean and Robert DeLeo on guitar and bass. The Marine City High School graduate also appeared on the talent reality show competition “X Factor” in 2012 and ’13. 

Gutt has performed the National Anthem at the Grand Prix in the past, and is expected to do the same after his concert and before the major race on Sunday.

All of the concerts are included with any level of admission to the Grand Prix, which is expected to draw around 100,000 people over three days. 

“If you go see Stone Temple Pilots, it doesn’t matter where or what venue, you’re going to pay $45 or greater,” said Chevrolet Grand Prix President Michael Montri. “Our general admission ticket is $45, and that includes a shuttle ride down from Renaissance Center or Cobo Center. It’s an inexpensive concert ticket for sure, plus you have all the rest that goes on with it.”

Montri said The Crofoot live music venue in Pontiac organized the headliners and local talent, as well as some out of town bands for the race. 

One of Metro Detroit’s rising musical stars, singer-songwriter and musician Olivia Millerschin, performs just ahead of Ballard on Saturday. 

“I’m really excited. I’m just recently learning about Frankie’s music,” she said. “We’ve kind of always crossed paths. I have a couple people on my team who have tour managed for him and things like that. He’s from Michigan, but I really hadn’t listened to him until the past couple months and I’m becoming a really big fan.”

Millerschin, a winner of multiple John Lennon Songwriting Awards, said for this performance she’ll have a quartet with piano, guitar, trombone and ukulele. She’s going to play mostly new songs, many off her upcoming live album which she’s recording exclusively in historic restrooms across the city. “The Powder Room Project” is expected to be released this fall. 

This will be her first time performing at the Grand Prix, but she’s no stranger to outdoor stages during spring and summer events around town. 

“You never know about the weather or how it’s going to affect your playing or your instruments ... but it’s kind of fun in Michigan. We get four seasons and we just have to adapt, so I don’t mind. It beats playing in 20 degrees.”

The family-friendly Meijer Fun Zone has interactive games, food trucks and bars. Here’s the full schedule of acts performing at this weekend’s Grand Prix:


11:45 a.m.-12:45 p.m.: Gasoline Gypsies (rock) 

1:30-2:30 p.m.: Cast Iron Cornbread (rock/country/soul/blues) 

3:30-4:30 p.m.: The Band Mint (rock/hip-hop/funk) 

5-6 p.m.: Young Pioneer (pop)


10:15-11:15 a.m.: Billy Gunther (singer/songwriter) 

11:45 a.m.-12:45 p.m.: Brother Elsey (folk rock) 

2:15-3:15 p.m.: Olivia Millerschin (singer/songwriter) 

6-7 p.m.: Frankie Ballard (country/blues)


11:15 a.m.-Noon: Spirit Animal (rock) 

1-2 p.m.: Stone Temple Pilots (rock) 

2:30-3:30 p.m.: The Lows (groove rock) 

4-5 p.m.: Joe Jaber and the Last Divide (rock)

Gates to the Grand Prix open at 7 a.m. Friday and 8 a.m. Saturday and Sunday. Visit detroitgp.com for more information or to purchase tickets. 

The Gasoline Gypsies