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Wild At Heart - Common Grounds Festival

Wild Bill Ketelhut provides the "blog" to this anti-blog
He has a radio program on WXOU out of Oakland University

Wild At Heart

Spent yesterday in Lansing, MI checking on more of the area festival circuit. Last week you know I daytripped to Sarnia to catch the opening day of Bayfest. This time, I was catching the third day of the Common Ground Festival which is very similar to the way Bayfest is set up. I spent the morning waiting for my photographer only to find out that he couldn’t make it so I called by backup person and hit the road around noon because I wanted to spend some time taking in the atmosphere of our state’s capitol.

I started off going to MSU and saw they have a dairy where they make their own ice cream. I put my money in the meter and walked in to a long line of a plethora of flavors, some even named after other Big Ten schools which I thought was nice of them. I got a combo of raspberry sherbet and chocolate chunk in a waffle cone. The girl behind the counter told me they were making ice cream and you could watch so I rushed out to put more money in my meter only to find that the three extra minutes over I went was already long enough for the meter police to put a parking ticket on my car. Four years of Hartwick, three of Bowling Green and five of Oakland never resulted in me getting a parking ticket. Within 20 minutes of hitting MSU, I got my first parking ticket. I went to complain which took awhile as ice cream is dripping down my arm as making a mess which was embarrassing. So instead of enjoying this side trip, I am getting annoyed esp since they have metered parking for the parking area and due to construction. It turns out to me a very long walk, esp with my foot acting up. I almost got a second ticket inquiring about the first. I was told they get about 50 people a day that challenge the tickets which seems overly excessive. I don’t think Oakland hands out 50 a day, much less getting 50 to challenge which says something to me about their system needs restructuring. So here instead of writing about how much I love MSU’s campus and museums, I am bitching about the campus and warn anyone going there to make sure you check the meters.

After this, I also missing going to a few museums I wanted to in the area and this experience basically colored my day as I later found my second photographer couldn’t come out due to work. So I decided to find the festival grounds, get my stuff in order and get a bite to eat. Found a nice dinner called Kewpie’s which does have a lot of Kewpie Doll stuff around. Got a nice chicken sandwich and onion rings. Of course, they gave messed up my order which seemed par for the course that day. You know when you have a day where nothing is going as planned but you still keep moving forward. That’s how this day was.

The grounds were filled with you typical food stands and booths to learn about various products. They had a side stage and bar with local music and a casino boat where those 21 and over could play poker. The music this night was exciting as the main stage featured Trevor Hall whose musical mix of rock and reggae reminded me a bit of Citizen Cope. Sammy Hagar started out rocking with a few hits and girls in bikini’s by his on stage bar. While Sammy rocked out, I made my way to the second stage because that is what I came for. It had started out with the jams of Root Doctor and the Orleans jazz of the Rebirth Jazz Band and ended with a solid performance by Jimmy Cliff who talked about the mistakes of Afghanistan and the need for being more environmentally aware and singing a nice set of popular hits such as his cover of "I Can See Clearly Now” and the iconic “The Harder They Come” to lesser known jams that had the crowd dancing and swaying.

Overall, the festival was enjoyable with a nice layout though it is a bit of an effort to hit both stages if you want to back and forth. Being downtown, parking is free after 4PM in the parking garages, which is a nice benefit with no one trying to gouge you for more money after driving there. They allow chairs so get there early to stake out you territory. Being on the water is nice and the park grounds are well kept. Overall, the festival is a nice experience. Doors open at 5:30PM and things go on until the bands end. If interested in going to Lansing, it is a nice atmosphere to take in bands.

Friday is a good night for rockers with Alice Cooper, Tesla and the Sick Puppies. Saturday is odd with the main stage being geared towards rap with Ludacris while the second stage has jazz artists like Mindi Abair and Peter White. Things wind down on Sunday is another day for rockers with Gregg Rolie who is known for his work as lead singer of early Santana and Journey and followed by the Machine which plays Pink Floyd music with the Lansing Symphony. For more info, you can go to I have turned in some video and pictures that I hope came out and will be posted in the near future.

Take care and watch out for the storms coming through.