LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Scottville Clown Band responds

Jul 31, 2012


Executive Director Mike Smith has contacted me for many years to include the Scottville Clown Band Inc. in the festival. The band has been a part of the festival for over 50 years. The members of the band absolutely love playing in Grand Haven. However, if Mike and his fellow organizers choose not to bring the SCB to the stadium, that is their right. We are professional enough to accept the fact that there are other acts that would like to be part of the weeklong lineup. We will be in the parade on that Saturday.

The fact is, the Scottville Clown Band each and every year adds new music to our concert show, something we spend every Tuesday night working on from the second Tuesday in February through the first Tuesday in June each year. But while we change our program, there are many, many tunes that are signature with the Scottville Clown Band. Our concert program has become just as popular as the band marching in parades, and there have been no complaints in the past 15-plus years on our show from places such as the White Lake summer program, Pentwater Homecoming, Baldwin Troutarama, Scottville Summer Concert Series and Ludington Summer Concert Series — to name a few.

We are not the sort of act that people will pay much to see, especially when we play all over the place free of charge to the public. Waterfront Stadium has a gate to offset expenses and our organization has seen enough festivals to know what that is all about. To try and justify not having us play by saying that we're "a bit tired and hadn't changed any of their material in 15 years," and to imply an entire community feels that way — I think Mike could have been more diplomatic.

We hope the community will continue to support the acts brought to the waterfront for their enjoyment. Many people work year-round to make the Coast Guard Festival the biggest and best festival around, at least in the opinion of the Scottville Clown Band, and we have seen plenty of them.

Charlie Weber
Scottville Clown Band Inc.



I was absolutely disgusted at Mike Smith's words. At least it seemed to come back to bite him last night with the concert that replaced the clown band.

The Scottville Clown Band is always a huge hit, and their music does in fact change contrary to what Mike says. SCB is a class act that always pleases those of all ages. It was a shock to see that they would not be playing this year, and then even more of a shock when I saw the quotes from Mike Smith.

The Scottville Clown Band should know however that the band Mike and the CGF committee had replace them drew one of the smallest audiences that I have ever seen at any of the waterfront events (and I am there every night each year, so I have seen MANY events). The singing was way off and the band was just covering country songs from other bands. Definitely not worth the $10 the audience paid. At least the clown band would have filled the stadium, and the audience would have had fun.

Keep up the great work SCB and don't let the CGF directors words ruin your opinion of Grand Haven. EVERYONE I have talked to has greatly enjoyed SCB's past shows and would love to have them back in town. You are a class act and are welcome back any time!


Thank you Grand Haven Eagles for hosting the Scottville Clown Band at the tent behind the Aerie after the parade. Children are welcome and we will be treated to a great show by the band. I'm so glad they will still be performing in Grand Haven!

lily dull

I was really pleased to read Signalman's response to Charlie Webers comments. SCB you have been a staple for me and my family for many, many years. We have seen you all over - most recently at Troutarama in Baldwin and we loved your new numbers. You guys never cease to amaze me with your talent and I was sickened to hear you were not asked to perform this year in GH - my protest is that we will not be attending any of the shows at the waterfront this year. . You have given so much joy to many people in the community for as long as I can remember. I'm thinking that maybe Mike Smith should be replaced and the clown band should come back. His comments were very unfounded and I think I speak for many in this community that we do not share his feelings. I guess he never heard of the old saying "If it's not broke, don't fix it". I can tell you that our whole family will be at the parade and looking forward to seeing you. I hope the community will all show their support by giving the SCB a real show of our support as they pass by - I know we will! Keep up the good work and if we have to go to other festivals and see you we will - we will just replace the GH festival for one that treasures what you give.

Tri-cities realist

Kudos to The Scottville Clown Band for their longevity, and never failing to entertain those of all ages. And thank you for always remembering the heroes that serve our country by playing at the service organizations after the parade. The show at the Eagles is always a highlight of the festival for our family. I'm sure the crowd will be even bigger this year.


It will probably be a big crowd at the Eagles. I hope everyone comes out to show their support. I support the USCG Festival ... but I also want to support the SCB.

Skeptic Trucker

Very dissapointed with CGF. As a truck driver, I am usually out of town until the last day of the festival. This year I took vacation and was sorry to see the SCB not playing at waterfront stadium. Shame on the committee. However, I am glad to hear about the performance after the parade and plan to attend. Continuing success to the Clown Band...


I am certainly sorry to hear that you had rearranged your vacation and then have this happen.


What has failed this year is the the CGC did not consider what is enjoyed by our community and our visitors each and every year. The SCB is a true class-act. If it's not broke (and is a great success year after year), why fix it? Mr. Smith, you were placed in a leadership role and your pompous comments are a reflection of the entire Coast Guard Committee. The only thing broken that I see is that this position for 2013 must be filled with someone who has a better filter. To the members of the SCB, know that our great community stand with you. Thank you for your eloquent letter of response.

Skeptic Trucker

Well said. Mr. Smith needs to vacate his position when the ships downtown vacate the pier. Try again next year.


It is certainly too bad that the USCG Festival committee has decided to eliminate the SCB waterfront performance. I am a big fan of the festival and wish them all the best, but I strongly urge them to reconsider this decision for 2013.

I know that there are many competing interest in the operation of festival.

~ Supporting the work of the CG should always be #1
~ Providing economic impact to our community
~ Providing entertaining opportunities for our community visitors
~ Providing a financially sustainable model of revenue generation to support the festival into the future.

But let's not forget that not everything has to be fancy and new. The SCB has long been a community favorite. Remember that Grand Haven residents have long supported and loved the band. It is a fun and entertaining event that *most* everyone can enjoy.

I hope that the festival leader (Mr. Smith) will be willing to make a public statement on this and apologize to the community. I do not believe it was done in malice, but it does seem as if it probably was a mistake.

Please understand, I am NOT saying that the festival should not change or move forward, it just that sometimes the things we are already doing are just as worthwhile as the perspective things that could be happening.


The Scottville Clown Band will be playing a concert at the Grand Haven American Legion on Harbor Ave after the parade is finished. This is open to the general public... Thank you SCB for giving the US Coast Guard members, US Veterans and Legion members this enjoyable concert.


We have made a tradition to include this band in our Saturday tradition every year by following them through the parade route and then afterwards at the Eagles! I am VERY disappointed in how Mike handled this situation; I think HE must have been tired when OR IF he made this comment; one thing I have learned over the years is that the tribune has screwed up reporting accurately on MANY occasions and believe this is more likely the situation. If Mr. Smith did in fact make this statement I believe he owes the SCB a huge & very public apology! In Closing; having read all of the comments here it could be cause for confusion as they place the SCB at three different locations after the parade; what is the actual location they are playing at?

Mark Brooky

Mike Smith's exact quote to me for the story in our Discover Grand Haven Coast Guard Festival edition: "We always try to listen to our community guests and see what they would like to see. We heard that the Scottville Clown Band was a bit tired and hadn't changed any of their material in 15 years, so we went with a requested country rock pop group for the first Monday night."

Knowing Mike, he is all about community. I'm sure he and the festival organizers will be taking the disappointment over the Clown Band's omission under advisement for next year.

Meanwhile, the band will be in the Grand Parade, and playing at the American Legion's chicken barbecue after the parade.


The squeaky wheel gets the oil. Apparently someone disapproved of the SCB... and everyone else just took for granted that they would always be there. They are a mainstay of the Festival. I hope that they are back where they belong next year :)


Moderators have removed this comment because it contained misplaced comment. Discussion Guidelines


Mr. Williams... how does your comment pertain to the Scottville Clown Band?

Skeptic Trucker

WOW. Spamming the Trib. Where will it all end???


Mike is a great guy and over the years he and other Coast Guard Festival volunteers contribute hundred of hours toward the parade and many other public activities for our enjoyment. As with many things over the years it does come down to money and sustainability for programs to continue or not. Please lets not let this issue threaten or harm the many personal contributions and hours that Mike and the volunteers have made on our behalf, just maybe we should look beyond the obvious and consider the possible consequences. I enjoy the SCB but I also understand and very much appreciate all the hard work and time that must go into the Coast Guard Festival. Thanks CGF directors and all the volunteers for your devotion, time and hard work.
Lets get on with next years planning and show Michigan and the rest of the country why West Michigan is such a special place to live, work and play.


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