The opening of the social tent and the music of three popular local bands highlight the entertainment on the first night of the Sounds & Sights Festival, which kicks off on Thursday, July 25.
Dubbed, “Chelsea Spotlight Night,” the featured entertainment is Bill Bynum & Co., Dragon Wagon, and Bull Halsey.
“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. “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,” Rop said in a press release.
Bull Halsey’s distinctive blues sound originated in Chelsea, according to the press release. Garth Giard (bass), David Oesterle (drums), Wally Schmid (original guitarist) and Ben Vermeylen (new guitarist) are all Chelsea natives who all started playing together sometime after high school.
Danny Pratt, originally from Ann Arbor, joined the band after their first EP release, ‘The Mighty Fists of Joe Frazier’.
“Bull Halsey has played eight years on the sidewalks of Chelsea, I believe,” said Garth Girard, a band member, who added, “We were part of the first year (2004) and missed 2005. We made up for that in 2006 by playing as the Strong Suits (6 piece big band) and Bull Halsey.”
In fact, you might recognize Girard as the bass guitarist on the Sounds & Sights posters and brochures.
Dragon Wagon is a Michigan-roots bluegrass favorite. Formed in 2008, the bands’ combination of mandolin, fiddle, banjo, guitar, bass and drums guarantees an infectious energy that gets every crowd dancing.
Bill Bynum & Co.
Bill Bynum & Co has also been a part of the Chelsea music scene for several years.
“Our connection to Chelsea started when I’d play solo for tips at the bakery and since then they just keep inviting us back again and again, go figure?” said Bill Bynum, in a press release.
Backed by a trio of acoustic musicians, Bynum’s performances showcase his original songwriting, public-domain folk songs, twanged-up versions of 1960s pop songs and recent releases by contemporary singer-songwriters. The band’s core of guitar, pedal steel, fiddle, bass and harmony vocals can lean into country, veer toward bluegrass, or take listeners on a unique journey through Bill’s original songs.
The three bands will play on the stage inside the social tent, from 7-11 p.m.
Located behind The Common Grill restaurant, the social tent opens at 6 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.
Thursday’s entertainment is sponsored by Back to the Roots and Jets Pizza.
Also playing during Sounds & Sights on Thursday Nights from 6:30-8:30 p.m. are:
- Chelsea House Orchestra (Celtic Music) at the library
- 3 Generations Entertainment (Balloons for the kids) at Main St. Alley
- Eli Adams (Acoustic Rock) at East Alley
- The Appleseed Collective (Americana/Gypsy Jazz) at East Middle
- The Shelter Dogs (Roots Rock/Americana/Swing /Blues) at Sylvan Courtyard
- The Nomads (World Fusion) at Glazier Building
- Bulletproof Snow (Alternative Rock) at Clocktower Gazebo
- Eric the Juggler (Juggling) at the Clocktower Courtyard
- Poppet (Pop & Lock Dancer) traveling around downtown
- Movie at dusk provided by SRSLY Cinema: “Aquamarine” (PG)
- The food court will be open from 5-10 p.m.
For details of events and locations and all the events taking place during the festival on Friday and Saturday, click here.