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Welcome to the 2015 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.

This year’s performers include Seth and May, Fauxgrass, Drew Nelson, Nobody’s Darlin’, Dede and the Dreamers, Peter “Madcat” Ruth (Grammy award winner), Micah Ling and Nic Garreiss, Hawks and Owls String Band, and others. 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 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.

Our Mission

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.

The Time is Right

We took a three-year hiatus from the Water Festival to focus on life issues. We were with dying parents during their transition, and, living in an elevated home on the bank of the Grand River, we dealt with the largest flood in recorded history.

Now is the right time for us to produce another festival, our sixth.

Water quality issues have become more urgent, not less, in the past three years. People from all segments of life have been asking us when the festival is going to happen.

We are honored to have the approval and sponsorship of the City of Grand Rapids.

Environment and Traditional Music

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,

as Owashtanong.


The Grand River Water Festival Committee

Hawks and Owls string band