Labor Day weekend will sizzle again in 2021 with the official return of one of Metro Detroit’s favorite four-day festivals, the Soaring Eagle Arts, Beats & Eats presented by Flagstar Bank. It will return to Royal Oak from Sept. 3 through Sept. 6 with art, food and entertainment for all ages.
Known as Oakland County’s annual Labor Day weekend celebration of art, music and food for the community, organizers say this year’s event is scheduled to operate at full capacity. Its mission is to offer outdoor entertainment, live music, art and culture to metro Detroiters as well as provide a venue for musicians and artists to take center stage and resume their livelihoods.
The highly-anticipated celebration features more than 200 performances across nine stages, a highly ranked juried fine arts show and dozens of local restaurants, as well as slight changes to its original ticketing system, allowing patrons to purchase all concessions directly from the restaurants and bars and to minimize touchpoints.
“The long wait is over. We’re eager to come together to enjoy live music, amazing art and mouth-watering cuisine. It feels good to be back and we’re looking forward to giving back to the community that has stepped up tremendously in the fight against the pandemic so we can all return to normalcy,” said Raul Venegas, executive director of marketing, entertainment & sales for Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort, which marks its third year as the title sponsor.
The 24th annual Soaring Eagle Arts, Beats & Eats will be open 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday, Sept. 3-Sunday, Sept. 5; and 11 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 6. Admission is free before 5 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 3 and $10 after 5 p.m. Every other day is $5 before 3 p.m. and $10 after 3 p.m.
The 2021 Soaring Eagle Arts, Beats & Eats has signed on Beaumont Health to sponsor the art festivities this year. The Beaumont Juried Fine Art Show, one of the nation’s top fine art events, will feature more than 100 booths with talented artists from across the nation offering a variety of mediums, including jewelry, metal, ceramics, digital art, drawing, fabric/fiber/leather, glass, mixed media 2D and 3D, painting, sculpture, graphics/printmaking, photography and wood. Artists are eligible for cash awards totaling $7,000.
New artists to the festival include Dustin Wagner (glass), from Springfield, Ohio, who handcrafts a wide variety of vases, bowls, drinkware, and one-of-a-kind beauties; Espacia Fotiu (mixed media 2D), of Warren, Michigan, whose paintings and creations are inspired by zen, philosophy and human experience; and Carolyn Garay (painting) from Ypsilanti, Michigan, who has mastered the art of oil painting, drawing and mixed media, exploring the mysterious by creating mindscapes, vortexes, creatures, “humans” and even cyborg-ladies.
With nearly 20 new musical acts added to the nearly 200 returning favorites, the Beats at this year’s festival are unparalleled. Featuring all genres of music across nine different stages, the bands play on for four days and nights of local and national entertainment. The Michigan Lottery National Stage will feature all-star performances by one of the most commercially successful bands of the 1990s, Grammy Award-winning Stone Temple Pilots (“Interstate Love Song,” “Plush”).
Also performing on the National Stage is The Guess Who (“No Sugar Tonight/New Mother Nature”), Bobby Brown (“My Prerogative”), The Gin Blossoms (“Hey Jealousy”), Neon Trees (“Everybody Talks”), Justin Moore (“Why We Drink”), Mac Watts (“Wise Man”), American rock band Starship (“We Built This City”), a tribute band that transports it audience through five decades of music Your Generation In Concert, the ultimate Beatles tribute band BeatleMania Live!, The Voice finalist of 2016, Laith Al-Saadi and Detroit R & B sensation, Thornetta Davis.
One of the top taste festivals in the country makes its triumphant return, serving a full menu of alluring taste options from more than 40 restaurants and caterers throughout metro Detroit. Festival-goers can indulge in foods from around the globe, dig into savory barbecue, enjoy guilt-free fresh greens and salads or indulge in mouthwatering desserts.
The festival welcomes a new, local Mexican restaurant to the Eats this year: Tequila Blue is a cantina in downtown Royal Oak located on top of the 526 Main Dueling Piano Bar. It serves up an appetizing slew of tacos, burritos, enchiladas and other spicy Mexican treats.
Also new this year are the fine dining options of local restaurant ImaginATE. Its executive chef, Omar Mitchell, has more than 28 years of experience in the finest restaurants and presents his unique vision of culinary delights. The restaurant’s selection of steaks and other meats are all locally sourced and freshly made and is sure to be a big hit at the festival.
Fun, family-friendly programming and entertainment abound throughout the four-day festival in the Oakland County Parks Kids Zone, which was moved to 4th Street near Main this year. The Kids Zone will feature a display of photos of the parks and information about what Oakland County Parks has to offer families throughout the year.
Kids will enjoy a full lineup of award-winning artists and performers, as well as exciting interactive entertainment on the Detroit Institute of Arts Kids Stage. Events on this stage include a VTS/Songwriting workshop with art pieces from the DIA’s Inside|Out collection, along with children’s folk singer Joe Reilly and Reg Pettibone’s Ho-Chunk dance and storytelling.
To offer attendees more flexibility and reduce touch points, organizers are departing from the ticketing system used since the festival’s inception in 1998. Now patrons can purchase all concessions directly from restaurants and bars with pay as you go via cash and credit card transactions.
Keeping staff, volunteers, participants and festivalgoers safe and healthy is a priority at Soaring Eagle Arts, Beats & Eats. Event organizers will display signage encouraging unvaccinated guests to wear masks and keep a social distance while requiring food and beverage staff to wear masks while serving. Added cleaning protocols for rides and other areas across the festival site, along with additional hand sanitizing and washing stations also will be in place.