StoopFest Returns to the Stoop – A homespun arts festival celebrates its second year

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In Lansing, a city brimming with talent, few experiences beat the intimate joy of seeing a live performance from a local artist. Throughout the city, there are plenty of spaces that champion neighborhood artists, giving them chances to kick-start their fledgling ambitions, perform for family and friends, or just jam out. This spring, a burgeoning local festival called StoopFest is offering the prospect of seeing dozens of these artists perform throughout the span of a spring day.

StoopFest is a DIY music, comedy and arts festival located on the east side of Lansing. The festival is entirely homegrown — five different houses host various musical acts throughout the day, while a separate residence showcases comedians. According to the organizers, the goal of the festival is “to create an inclusive environment for Lansing’s music and art lovers, to showcase the talented individuals within our community and to showcase what Lansing’s Eastside has to offer to residents and non-residents alike.”

The festival offers a unique opportunity to see local acts up close. In the houses, musicians carry their own equipment and perform in living rooms, basements or backyards.

“In between the acts, when you’re staying in the house, you can watch the artists set up — they bring all their stuff in and do a sound check and everything,” said Rachel Driesens, a junior genetics major who attended StoopFest last year. “The artists come in and do it all in a living room. It’s very makeshift.”

The first StoopFest took place last year on April 23, with a set list of over 50 musicians and 30 stand-up comics. Several well-known names bookended last year’s festival, including Kim Vi, Comedy Coven and Joe Hertler and the Rainbow Seekers. The event sold out quickly and was well-received enough to warrant a second round. This year, the festival’s headliners include prominent acts such as New York-based singer-songwriter Laura Stevenson, electronic outfit Math the Band and pop-rock guitarist Diners. Outside of the houses, the Avenue Café will serve as a “home base” for attendees, hosting more performances throughout the day.

In addition to the familiar experience, StoopFest provides an opportunity to meet fellow music lovers in the area and to enjoy the city in the springtime.

“The weather’s perfect; you can wander through all the neighborhoods,” Driesens said. “Being able to bounce around is just really nice. It’s a good way to socialize, get outside and walk around.”

StoopFest takes place all day on April 22. Tickets can be purchased at stoopfest.com. Get them fast — you won’t want to miss out on this celebration of the Lansing arts scene.