Welcome to the 2018 Grand River Water Festival! The festival is a free-of-charge, day long Music driven Environmental Festival featuring Traditional Folk, Country, Bluegrass, Cajun, Blues and World Beat music, performed by Michigan musicians.
We are able to use music and activities to draw together diverse groups of folks from our West Michigan community, who are then educated on water quality issues by Speakers from diverse environmental groups in-between bands.
There are opportunities to be further educated on environmental organizations, to activate and volunteer to worthy environmental causes, to purchase quality environmentally-conscious goods and food from our vendors, and to support the musicians at the merchandise booth.
It is a holistic music festival on all levels, with a great deal of heart.
Hidden Waterways: Community Watershed Artists Program
Starting Summer of 2018, the Grand River Watershed Arts and Music Council Community Watershed Artists Program is calling on local artists to participate in engaging their communities around water health. We are hiring local artists to paint sidewalk murals that reveal and interpret the “Hidden Waterways” under our streets to initiate local conversations about stormwater pollution. The murals will be chronicled in an interactive map on our website, and engage people in local neighborhoods. This program has been developed in partnership with the Lower Grand River Organization of Watersheds and Dr. Sarah King of Grand Valley State University. If interested, please fill out the form and attach your proposed artwork. All designs must be approved by the City of Grand Rapids.
Our mission is twofold: we use our performers to bring in folks for a day of fantastic music, and in-between bands we have speakers briefly discuss environmental issues related to water quality.
Past speakers have discussed sulfide mining near the shores of Lake Superior, invasive species in the Great Lakes, the financial impact and very real life circumstances of an aging, leaking water utility system on the low-income residents of Detroit, the importance of Grand Rapids being recognized by the United Nations as a “green city,” an environmental attorney’s work regarding water withdrawals, the impact of water pollution on Native American culture, the importance of holding our elected officials accountable, and the importance of native habitats and how they improve water quality, to name a few.
Now is the right time for us to produce another festival, our ninth.
The debacle that is the Flint Water Crisis is an indicator that clean water is apparently not for everyone.
Increased mining operations in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, namely in the Yellow Dog Watershed, continue to threaten the quality of Lake Superior, the worlds largest freshwater lake which contains 10% of all of our planets fresh water.
Many other water quality issues have become more urgent, not less, recently.
We are honored to have the approval and sponsorship of the City of Grand Rapids.
Being a free, kid-friendly festival run by volunteers, we reach a cross-section of people that may never have been exposed to traditional music or environmental issues. We feel that knowledge of both empowers individuals by giving them more choices and exposes them to a way of life that is being smothered by commercial radio and television programming.
We have found after the festival that attendance at performances by those bands that have participated in the Water Festival increase. We have personally run into folks at music festivals who discovered the “paradigm” of traditional music and the community that flourishes around it, and have fallen in love with it because of their attendance at the Grand River Water Festival.
Additional feedback from attendees and environmental organizations indicates that their membership and number of volunteers have increased because of connections made during the Grand River Water Festival.
We invite you to explore the Grand River Water Festival held at Riverside Park near Boat Launch 2. Bring your family and check out our music, speakers, environmental organizations, Kids Tent and environmentally-friendly food and vendors.
Have a story about what Water means to you? Record it at our Story Tent.
Learn ways to creatively strengthen our stewardship of the Great Lakes. Celebrate the wonderful Grand River that runs through it all, known by Michigan’s First People, the Anishinabe,
The Grand River Water Festival Committee
Hawks and Owls string band