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July 25-27: music galore at Sounds and Sights Festival

Courtesy photo by Burrill Strong.
Courtesy photo by Burrill Strong.

The clock’s ticking down to the start of the 37th Annual Sounds & Sights Festival on July 25-27, which will feature national and regional live music acts, local food and brew, an open-air art market, classic car show, chalk art contest, and multiple activities for all ages.

On Thursday, July 25, the festival kicks off with ‘Chelsea Spotlight Night’ featuring local music favorites Bill Bynum & Co, Dragon Wagon, and Bull Halsey.

Plus, the social tent, located behind The Common Grill, opens at 6 p.m. with live music from 7-11 p.m.  Alcohol, including beer and wine, are for sale to those 21 years of age and older.  Admission is only $5 and all ages are welcome. 

“This year we wanted to dedicate a festival night to bands that have loyally played Sounds and Sights on Thursday Nights over the last several years,” said Ashley Rop, event coordinator in a press release.  “All three bands, Bull Halsey, Dragon Wagon, and Bill Bynum & Co, have each grown a tremendous fan base over the years, so it made sense to ‘graduate’ them to the main stage.”

Bull Halsey’s distinctive blues sound originated with Chelsea natives who started playing together after high school.

“Bull Halsey has played 8 years on the sidewalks of Chelsea, I believe. We were part of the first year (2004) and missed the 2005 season,” said bass guitarist Garth Girard in a press release. “We made up for that in 2006 by playing as the Strong Suits and Bull Halsey.”

Also performing Thursday is bluegrass folk-rock favorite, Dragon Wagon.  Formed in 2008, the bands combination of mandolin, fiddle, banjo, guitar, bass and drums has kept Sounds & Sights crowds dancing in the streets year after year.

Rounding out the ‘Chelsea Spotlight’ lineup, Bill Bynum & Co has been a part of the Chelsea music scene for several years.  Backed by a trio of acoustic musicians, Bynum’s performances showcase his original songwriting, classic folk songs, 1960s pop songs and recent releases by contemporary singer-songwriters.

On Friday, July 26, the Sounds & Sights Festival presents ‘Country Night’ featuring country-rock Annabelle Road and headliner Whitey Morgan and the 78’s.

As natives of the Detroit area music scene, Whitey Morgan and the 78’s are a honky-tonk band devoted to maintaining an original Detroit Rock feel.

Annabelle Road are newcomers to the Sounds & Sights Festival this year.  Also tapping Motor City’s rich music, the band fuses the best of rock and country into their polished originals. They were handpicked as “Next Big Star” finalists on Kenny Chesney’s Poets & Pirates tour, and their single “Let You Bleed” plays in frequent rotation on Michigan’s country dials.

“We are thrilled to be invited to do a show in a town (Chelsea) that is so well known for outstanding entertainment,” said Amanda Bailey, lead vocalist for Annabelle Road in a press release.

The social tent opens at 6 p.m. with live music from 7-11 p.m.  Alcohol, including beer and wine, are for sale to those 21 years of age and older.  Admission is only $5 and all ages are welcome.

On Saturday, July 27, the social tent will be open from 1-5 p.m. with free admission to all ages.  Opening the stage at 2 p.m. is No Xcuses followed by indie groove rockers, Jake Prince Trio at 3:45 p.m.

That night, the Sounds & Sights Festival ‘Dance Party’ opens with funk and soul artists Third Coast Kings and wraps up the festival events with of crowd favorite, Fifty Amp Fuse.

Headlining for a second year, Detroit’s Fifty Amp Fuse is a live multimedia show celebrating six decades of pop/rock hits.  The eight piece band has been known to transport audiences on a musical journey through the soundtrack of their lives.

The Third Coast Kings are another new addition to Sounds & Sights this year.  Their deep funk and soul sounds come from traditional funk groups of the sixties and seventies.  Their gritty sound is a raw concoction of horn driven hooks, devastating rhythm and an overall tightness helped them earn a nomination as best urban/funk artist of the year at the Detroit Music Awards.

For details of events and locations please visit

And now, a thank you to the Sounds and Sights Festival sponsors: City of Chelsea Downtown Development Authority, Chelsea State Bank, Jiffy Mixes, Lake Trust Credit Union, The Common Grill, Cleary’s Pub, Edward Jones, Chelsea Community Hospital, Washtenaw County Parks and Recreation, Key Bank, LaJolla Fine Jewelry, Jet’s Pizza, Back to the Roots,  Ypsilanti Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, Chelsea Teddy Bear Company, River Gallery + Exhibits, Parts Peddler Chelsea Inc., Victory Lane Quick Oil Change, Chelsea Retirement Community,  Susan Jacobs CPA, Chelsea House Victorian Inn, Heydlauff’s Appliances & Electronics, Silver Maples of Chelsea, Hatch Stamping Company, Mitchell Family, Rick Eder Agency, Smokehouse 52 BBQ, Poncho Villa Mexican Restaurant, Chelsea Area Chamber of Commerce, and Palmer Auto Service.

Courtesy photo by Burrill Strong. Bill Bynum.
Courtesy photo by Burrill Strong. Bill Bynum.
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