The Final Cowpie Music Festival features the largest lineup of bands yet

The latest roundup of the South Kent County Music Festival kicks up its hooves this weekend with MonoNeon, Dopapod, Sophistafunk, Joe Hertler and dozens more. The Truth and the Calendar at Local Spins.

Going Out With a Bang: Cowpie Music Festival will be rebranded for 2023. (Photo/Anna Sink)


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West Michigan’s latest Cowpie Music Festival also bills itself as “the biggest and most spectacular,” but according to organizers who have lined up 50 diverse acts who will also pay tribute to iconic variety shows such as “American Bandstand” and “Soul Train“.

Kicking off Thursday at Shagbark Farm outside of Alaska in southern Kent County, the three-day party at a working farm features high-profile Massachusetts backdrops. Dopapodfrom Tennessee MonoNeonfrom michigan Mower Olaniran and Joe Hertler and the Rainbow Seekersfrom New York sophistfunk and a host of regional stars on three stages.

“We have increased our budget for talent and production,” said Travis Compton, lead organizer of the longtime festival which will be renamed Shagbark Music Festival next year.

Ready to Rock: Cowpie 2022 Poster

“We aim to cover as many genres as possible and spare no effort when scouting for artists. displays which are all highly respected by fans and musicians.

Weekend passes are $175; daily tickets are $55 on Thursday, $70 on Friday, and $85 on Saturday. VIP ticket packages range from $150 to $850. Get tickets online here.

Joining domestic artists will bring back favorites such as the jam band Desmond Jonesvintage country The Bootstrap Boyselectronic rock Biomassrocks legal immigrantsfunky Melophobixsoul singer-songwriter Hannah Rose Gravesprogressive rock/fusion Mongion and the Grand Rapids rapper Lady Ace Boogiewhich hosts the Soul Train stage on Friday and also performs at 9:30 p.m.

“I can’t think of a single group from this roster that won’t impress with their level of talent and passion,” Compton insisted. “We are incredibly honored to have MonoNeon, Tunde Olaniran, Dopapod and Joe Hertler & The Rainbow Seekers on our stage. These bands are all just amazing and each one is truly unique.


Artists will spice up their sets by paying homage to iconic American musical variety shows such as “Soul Train,” “American Bandstand,” and “Midnight Special.”

The final Cowpie will also feature sales of newly designed T-shirts by Ken Kidulas (building on the “Soul Train” theme), as well as beer and seltzer from Kalamazoo’s One Well Brewing.

In addition to music, the festival will feature an art gallery, puppet shows, fire dancers and pyrotechnic shows.

This much-loved family event has attracted a loyal following over the years.

New T-shirts: this year’s design.

“Cowpie Music Festival has the best atmosphere and music selection of Michigan music festivals,” insisted dedicated festival-goer Patrick Hnizda. “The family atmosphere, relaxed vibe and fun mentality reminds me every year that I came to the right place with the right people.”

Still, Compton said it’s time to change things up for 2023, considering “Farmer” John Crissman kicked off the first Cowpie as a blues festival more than two decades ago.

“We’re renaming the festival Shagbark Music Festival because we think the venue has grown, we’ve grown as well, and we don’t want to be associated with cow shit forever,” Compton.

“Shagbark is a name that more closely reflects the farm and emphasizes the historic nature of our site. We also cannot maintain the current format we have created for Cowpie and believe that by starting fresh we can create a more ergonomic format that will thrive.

For now, however, views are formed to ensure Cowpie comes out with a bang. And that means festival-goers can also plan for unexpected treats.

“We have several surprises in store for our happy fellow Cowpies to accompany our high level of production and beautiful setting,” Compton promised.

Revisit Local Spins’ coverage of past Cowpie music festivals here.


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