Lamp Light Music Festival 2014

Photo+by+James+Li

Photo by James Li

The Grand Rapids music scene has come to a living room near you. Over the past weekend of Nov. 7-9, the third annual Lamp Light Music Festival brought together local music enthusiasts with both local and regional artists in house shows.

Six living rooms across the Eastown neighborhood offered up space to concert goers and artists to share in the creative atmosphere. The event began in 2012 as an attempt to build an intimate concert atmosphere, while celebrating the rich culture of Michigan amidst the architecture of Eastown. This year, over 45 acts performed in the span of three days.

The unique communal atmosphere of Lamp Light left audience members and artists with a deeper appreciation for both the art and the experience of the festival.

Matt Schepers, a sophomore who attended the event, raved about the community atmosphere of Lamp Light.

“Everyone there was super happy to be there and it wasn’t pretentious at all,” he said. “The atmosphere was tightly knit, super respectful and positive.”

“At most concerts, people are trying to get as close to the artist as possible, with audience members fighting for the first row,” agreed sophomore Jordan Peterson. “But Lamp Light was a lot different from other music festivals because of the communal feel that it had. No matter where the audience member was located, he or she felt close to the artist.”

According to their mission statement, Lamp Light believes that “having concerts in living rooms ultimately breaks down the barrier of separation between artist and audience member and puts everyone at ease within a comfortable environment.”

The space was crowded with a diversity of individuals, spanning from small children and hip young adults to many middle-aged people and even some elderly listeners. Despite the appeal to young adults, not many Calvin students were in attendance. However, the audience made up a representative cross-section of the community, as did the bands represented.

A full gamut of musical styles was performed at the festival, ranging from Americana to post-punk to folk to rock. Most of the bands were from Grand Rapids, but there were a few from neighboring states, the UP and even from as far as Tennessee.

In order to make the festival run smoothly, a committed team of volunteers spent hours on the front end of the event, setting up the venues and tearing them down post-show.

“The Grand Rapids music scene is really diverse and quality, especially for a city our size,” Schepers said. “Grand Rapids is a city that’s very aware of its music scene and has a lot of respect for it.”

Although Calvin hosts many high quality concerts, there are many other well-received non-Calvin sponsored music events going on all over Grand Rapids.

“Start looking at local venues to see if any bands look interesting, like the Pyramid Scheme, the Intersection, house shows that are advertised around downtown, or even on campus at the Cave Cafe,” Schepers advises. “You can find a band that you like. Anybody can.”