“All the way from Fricano’s to Clover Bar and Highway Inn,” said event organizer Dave Palmer. “It really took the entire east-end community to get on board to make this happen.”
In previous years, venues branched out into downtown Grand Haven, as well.
This year’s festival runs from 1-5 p.m., with each musician or band performing a pair of one-hour sessions.
Walk the Beat has steadily grown in popularity over the past several years, with 150 performers applying for just 50 spots in this year’s lineup.
“We had so many bands that wanted to perform,” Palmer said. “We got to pick some really good acts, and we kept a variety. We really want to show off the different types of music, which is a representation of the different type of people we have.”
According to Palmer, around a third of the acts performing are local, while many others come from nearby communities such as Muskegon, Holland and Grand Rapids.
“We’ll have some wonderful musicians from as far away as Marquette and down to Illinois and a few other states,” he said.
Those in attendance will be asked to text to vote for their favorite band or performer throughout the day. Each performer will have a sign with their number displayed in front of their location.
The winning band gets 40 hours of production time with prominent sound engineer Bill Chrysler, a photo shoot, a website and a tour of various music venues, among other prizes.
Last year’s winner was 15-year-old rock/blues phenom Jake Kershaw.
Additionally, a panel will select the best song, and that artist takes home a check for $2,500.
Thousands of raffle tickets have been sold. Everyone who attends can put those tickets into drawings to win one of hundreds of prizes.
Palmer said more than 500 people are helping out as volunteers in some capacity.
“We’re anticipating a great weekend of music and fun,” he said. “Music is the medium we all use to get along.”
A list of musicians and a map of where they’ll be performing can be found online at www.walkthebeat.org.