Local Bands Reflect on What Makes Hamtramck Music Festival Special

By: Scott Davis | February 24, 2020

Photo Courtesy of Duende.

“I always walk away with some new friends of rock ’n roll and a favorite new act.”

That’s how Jeff Howitt, frontman of local rock quartet Duende, describes the Hamtramck Music Festival. The popular festival returns for its 7th year beginning this Thursday, February 27th. The three-day festival will take over 24 Hamtramck bars, restaurants, and venues including Bar/Ter, Polish Village Café, The High Dive, Sanctuary, Outer Limits Lounge, The Film Lab and many more. 

The annual celebration of local music will feature more than 200 bands over the course of the three days. Attendees can hop between venues to catch various acts with a $15 wristband that is good for the whole event.

Proceeds from the festival will go towards purchasing music equipment and art supplies for local public schools. To date, the festival has donated $20,000 worth of instruments, sound equipment, and art supplies.

It all kicks off with opening night festivities at Bar/Ter and The High Dive at 8 p.m. Performances continue throughout the weekend with the majority of sets beginning at 8 p.m. and the final set starting around 12 a.m. each night.

Kristin Lyn, part of Warhorses who are performing at the Ghost Light Bar on Saturday at 12:15 a.m., said that there’s nothing like this festival anywhere for fans and musicians.

“People look forward to HMF and plan their walking schedules to maximize the time enjoying live music and checking out new acts they haven’t had the opportunity to see before,” Lyn said.

Warhorses

Warhorses. Photo Credit: Erick Buchholz.

The schedule is packed with local favorites, along with up and coming artists to look out for. Duende’s Howitt, who will be performing at Moose Lodge on Saturday at 10 p.m., said the festival is a great equalizer for the local music scene and gives all bands great exposure.

“Established bands are as likely to play a little hot boxed room as much as someone who has only started performing, getting to rock a proper stage in a venue that may be outside their reach in normal times,” Howitt said. “It’s a great way to introduce yourself to a few thousand people.”

The Hamtramck Music Festival has quickly become a favorite Metro Detroit tradition with its great value, exposure for local acts, and fundraising for local schools. Be sure to check out the festival’s official website and their Facebook page for exciting announcements and even a festival map for you to plan out each night.