Summertime promises to bring plenty of good vibrations to downtown Novi
A new outdoor festival called Vibe on Main is coming to Novi on Aug. 13, and this first-time eventpromises to be a good time for everyone.
“It’s a great time of the year for a festival and Main Street is the perfect location,” said Robert Hansen, manager of the popular Rojo Mexican Bistro in downtown Novi. “I really think this is going to be a terrific event.”
Main Street will be closed to traffic from Paul Bunyon Drive south to Potomac Road and then west toward Novi Road for the festival, allowing for a stage at the Main/Potomac intersection, a beer tent/VIP area, food vendors, a mini bazaar, and the addition of outdoor dining patios that can be extended into the street.
Whitney McClellan-Stone and Cal Stone are the husband-and-wife team behind 2 Stones Events, the organizers of the festival. They were approached by the city a year and a half ago about doing a new event. And now they’ve lined up several impressive music acts and are eager to bring some positive vibes to downtown Novi.
“For years, my husband and I were on the board of the ’50s Festival, which ended several years ago after more than two decades,” McClellan-Stone said. “This event will focus on great Detroit area musicians and food that celebrates this city’s diversity. And people unfamiliar with downtown Novi will be surprised ... we’re confident it won’t be long before it really explodes and starts drawing people from all over.”
‘Downtown’ restaurants include Rojo, the Michigan Beer Company, bd’s Mongolian Grill, and Alexandria Mediterranean Cuisine. Several off-site restaurants -- like Johnny Carino's, Bawarshi and Library Sports Pub & Grill -- will be participating as well.
In other words, there’s something for everyone.
“It’s going to be pretty cool,” Stone said. “People can come for the beer, the wine, the food and the music.”
Five acts of various genres will take the stage from 4-11 p.m., beginning with Monsieur Guillaume & His Zydeco Hepcats, a seven-piece band specializing in the Cajun sounds of New Orleans.
The second artist, vocalist Ben Sharkey, has been steadily building a loyal local following, crooning in the style of Harry Connick Jr., putting a unique spin on modern tunes like Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean”, and serving up impressive originals.
Next, Nadir Omowale, a multi-faceted leader in the Detroit music scene, will bring his high-energy funk group, featuring vocalist Caleb Gutierrez.
The fourth slot belongs to Ryan Dillaha & The Miracle Men, a five-piece crowd favorite that blends Americana, country and rock.
Closing out the festival will be the Motor City’s queen of the blues, Thornetta Davis, a powerful singer and performer who boasts one of the best bands in the state.
“We’re mixing up genres to appeal to a wide audience – zydeco, country, jazz, rock, Americana, and funk,” said Stone, “and we feel extremely grateful to have these awesome acts working with us. There should be something here for everyone to enjoy.”
SUPPORTING LOCAL BUSINESSES
Novi City Council member Brian Burke said the festival is another step toward reinvigorating the downtown area.
“To be able to block off the street and have an evening of music and food, along with a beautiful sunset is just a great idea,” he said. “We’re supporting our local merchants with this festival, and that’s something everyone can get behind. But we’re also trying to get Main Street out of a stagnant period and become a vibrant center again, and I think this is a great start.”
Vibe Credit Union is the presenting sponsor for the festival. It’s the perfect partnership. “We love the name of the festival and we’re proud to be partners,” Chief Marketing Officer Tyler Ross said. “Our name represents the sound waves of our history in the telecommunications industry, and this year we’re celebrating our 80th birthday.”
Vibe Credit Union is involved in a number of community events, working in partnership with the Novi library, schools, city and chamber. Ross said the credit union philosophy centers around the idea of people helping people.
“This is really big for Novi and we’re happy to be a part of it,” she said. “People love music and great food.”
The Fifth Third Bank Michigan State Fair and Hubert Distributors (Bud Light) have come on board as sponsors, as have several car dealerships -- Cadillac of Novi, Tom Holzer Ford, and Marty Feldman Chevrolet. In support of the new festivals, services and goods are being offered by the City of Novi, Independent Exhibit Services, Lagarda Security, Singh Development, Message Makers, Michigan CAT, Novi Public Library, and Waste Management.
A BOOST TO THE DOWNTOWN
Stone said he hopes the festival will serve as “a shot in the arm” for downtown Novi, one that will help lead to future events.
“It really is a unique area,” he said of the district. “I think it just needs something like a festival to give it more exposure. A lot of people don’t even know about downtown Novi, but once people visit, I’m sure they’ll want to return to check out something new.”
The stage is being strategically situated so that festival-goers on both the north-south and east-west portions of Main Street will be able to enjoy the show. The festival is free, but a $5 wristband is necessary to enter the beer and wine tent. Members of Novi Rotary will be serving, and proceeds will benefit that club’s foundation.
In a VIP area near the stage, patrons will enjoy a higher-end selection of beer and wine, and food (provided by Steve & Rocky’s restaurant).
The festival will run from 2-11 p.m., but Stone said it’s possible it will be expanded into a two-day event, with Friday, Aug. 12, serving as a fundraiser that’s centered around a craft beer tasting.
Burke said he envisions the festival as a catalyst that could lead to future projects, such as developing a pocket park in the area. Hansen said he appreciates how Burke and other city officials are working to bring some new energy into the downtown.
“I know they’re trying to revamp Main Street and they definitely have the support of the business community,” Hansen said. “They’re trying to bring it and this is a great step in the right direction.”
Just bring your dancing shoes and an appetite -- and get ready for some good vibrations.
Businesses interested in this new Novi event can call 810-599-0491; visit http://www.2stonesevents.com.
By Jay Grossman