A student-led music festival aiming to counteract some commonly held assumptions about the local music scene and give exposure to lesser-known artists is returning for its second year in Ypsi.
The second annual No More Parties in AA music festival will be held Saturday, Aug. 19 from noon to 8 p.m. at the Lakehouse, across from Eastern Michigan University's (EMU) Student Center at 900 Oakwood St. in Ypsi. The free event will include short performances from at least 25 artists, pop-up booths selling goods from 10 vendors, and various games.
Last year's festival took place on a blocked-off portion of Washington Street and ticket prices ranged from $5 to $10. But this year's festival on EMU's campus will be free because organizers are hoping to increase foot traffic and attract the student population.
"We wanted to make sure that everybody had the chance to come and experience [the festival] this year," says festival co-founder Lamar Turner.
Hip-hop, R&B, soul, funk, alternative, and rock are among the genres that will be represented at this year's festival. Most of the artists hail from the metro Detroit area, including several who are EMU students, but some are coming from as far away as New York City, Philadelphia, and Atlanta.
"We want to make sure that everybody has the opportunity to show their talent no matter where they're from," Turner says. "The purpose of the event is to give people a platform that don't normally have it."
Festival co-founder Tateanna Hinds reached out to most of the out-of-state artists on social media and asked them if they'd be willing to foot the bill for travel expenses to Ypsi so they can be a part of the festival. Some of them have never been to Michigan before, so they're excited to visit for the first time and perform for a new audience.
"I think what's cool about our generation is they understand that opportunities don't necessarily always pay off right up front, but that doesn't mean it's not fruitful. So a lot of them are willing to invest in their careers and themselves, which is what we want because we're putting a lot of money and time into putting this festival together," Hinds says.
Hinds came up with the idea of organizing a music festival in Ypsi when she was daydreaming in class at EMU. A couple of the classes she was taking at that time gave her some insight on how to get started and who to contact, and then some of her friends helped her make other connections.
The festival's name was inspired by the Kanye West song "No More Parties in L.A." It's also the co-founders' response to the misconception that people have to go to Ann Arbor to have a good time, and to the emphasis placed on imbibing instead of music at a party.
"People get booked at parties all the time and they perform at parties all the time, but everyone's there for the party, not for the performance. So the 'No More Parties' part is kind of a double entendre because it means we're not going to throw a party and have you perform. We're going to throw a show based around performances," Hinds says.
Hinds and Turner are presenting this year's event through their community-based movement called EVOLVE. They're still working to classify EVOLVE, a creative mission that involves everything from music to building urban gardens to creating a recycled, environmentally responsible clothing brand.
"EVOLVE is all about putting the meaning behind the movement. It's really about getting our generation – and really anyone that we can reach, but specifically our generation – to realize that we all have a social responsibility and that we can be working and having fun and still making a difference and making a change," Hinds says.
Hinds and Turner are in the process of rebranding the festival so its name is just No More Parties because they want they want it to be more universal. They hope to eventually bring No More Parties to other cities, like Detroit and Chicago.
Brianna Kelly is the embedded reporter for On the Ground Ypsi and an Ypsilanti resident. She has worked for The Associated Press and has freelanced for The Detroit News and Crain's Detroit Business.