This past Monday my mum and I trekked down to Royal Oak to partake of Arts, Beats and Eats. For those who are unfamiliar, its an annual festival that brings in concerts, restaurants and artists both from the local area and other parts of the United States.
This is actually the first year that the festival has been held in Royal Oak. Previous it’s been in Pontiac, so the flavor was a bit different this year from when we went last year.
We chose to attend on Monday for a variety of reasons, the largest being that we were otherwise occupied on Saturday and Sunday, but we also wanted to catch the Kansas concert. It really ended up working out in our favor, because while it was crowded on Monday it was nothing compared to the crowds earlier in the weekend.
Now, I’ve read a lot of complaints about the crowds and the parking and such, but I guess my mum and I tend to expect such things and view it all as an adventure. It also was a bit dreary Monday deterring some and we employ such techniques as walking behind the stalls on the sidewalk to skip large sections of crowd which definitely helps.
I’m not going to say the crowds weren’t bad at points, but what I found more frustrating than the crowds were actually the stroller jams. I know I don’t have any kids of my own, but I’ve worked with them in one form or another for a good portion of my life and a festival like this is not the place to bring your two year old. There was a kids area, but it really was set up more for older children who can greatly benefit from being exposed to all of the different art, music and culture.
Back to us, Mum and I decided to park at the high school because it was $5 cheaper and a whole lot less crazy than trying to park in town. Much to my delight, the shuttle service was being run by Indian Trails which is actually based about 5 minutes from my apartment so I was also supporting my peeps parking there. It was also great because they dropped and picked us up at the gate.
We found the stage we sought with only one stop for directions and, being a bit early, jaunted off again in search of liquid refreshment. We didn’t really want to spend our food tickets on water, so we were quite pleased to find a little ice cream shop with a vending machine. I’m certain they made a killing last weekend from folks like us.
When we arrived back for the concert the area was packed with people. I grew up listening to Kansas, but I find it’s always interesting to hear bands I grew up on now that I’m an adult. I know their hits, of course, and we actually heard them perform ‘Dust in the Wind’ but I never realized they had as much instrumental music as they performed. Not that I minded. I’m a bit of a fangirl when it comes to electric violins and one of their guys was definitely rocking his out.
We listened for the better part of their set, slowly working our way back into the less compact crowd before decided to make our way over to the art section of the festival. We’re both fascinated to see what types of artists are there, especially being a juried show. Some of the artists we love, others, well, we’re just not their audience.
Last year when we attended we were introduced to the artwork of Laura Lee Junge, who is now located at the Jackson Junge Gallery in Chicago and we were quite excited to find them at Arts, Beats and Eats once more. Her work is full of whimsy and bright, beautiful color.
This year I gave into temptation and purchased a small version of While Angels Sleep, Your Love Shall Keep to add to my home collection of as yet un-hung artwork. I almost purchased Out of the Sounds of Silence He Summons the Symphony but there is such glorious detail in it I’m going to save up to buy a larger print. What I really want is the $500 large framed copy that they had at the festival, but it’s a little out of my price range at the moment.
In a lovely bit of happenstance, we ran into Gwen – my sister from another mother – and her husband wandering an art cul-de-sac. They had to depart for evening plans so we couldn’t talk long, but it was a fun and unexpected occurrence. Now, some of my friends are shaking their heads reading this and saying that I’m always running into people I know, but that didn’t make it any less wonderful when it happens.
As for the eats, that was our last stop. After much perusal we settled on farm cheese pierogis and fried pickles. I know it’s an odd combination, but I love pierogis and mum’s been wanting to try fried pickles for awhile. Both were excellent. Just thinking about them makes my mouth water.
Last year we hit the festival and then left, but this year our explorations expanded to the stores that had stayed open in the midst of festivities. A pair of shoes and purse wishlist later, we decided that we’d have to come back and shop Royal Oak again, which is really what they hope to get out of such events.
My friend Becks over at Detroit Moxie posed the question of whether or not people thought the festival was a success at its new location and while I can’t speak for the festival as a whole, for us it was great day. There are definitely kinks that need to be worked out before next year’s festival, but overall we had fun and came out with a list of restaurants we want to try out, stores we wish to shop at and a gallery we really want to visit.