MUSIC Matters' SpringFest showcases live performances, artists, local businesses

Tuesday, April 16, 2019 - 7:21pm

Students and Ann Arbor residents enjoy SpringFest, the annual festival put on by MUSIC Matters to showcase the best of what the University of Michigan and Ann Arbor have to offer at the corner of State Street and North University Tuesday.

Students and Ann Arbor residents enjoy SpringFest, the annual festival put on by MUSIC Matters to showcase the best of what the University of Michigan and Ann Arbor have to offer at the corner of State Street and North University Tuesday. Buy this photo
Asha Lewis/Daily

Tuesday afternoon, MUSIC Matters hosted their annual SpringFest, a festival of live performances, art installations and dozens of local and University showcases. SpringFest was held alongside State Street and North University Avenue, which were closed down for the duration of the event.Attendees enjoying long-awaited warm weather walked among food trucks, exhibitions and tables from more than 65 student organizations and local businesses while listening to continuous live music.

SpringFest Chair Anuksha Singh, Business senior, said MUSIC Matters went into the year with ambitious goals for the daytime festival, which is actually only one part of SpringFest — the event also includes a nighttime concert, which this year featured rapper A$AP Ferg. Singh remarked on a desire to continuously expand the event, involving and attracting more people.

“This year we really wanted to build up the festival,” Singh said. “So really focusing on what different sections we want, so arts and music, live service, sustainability and so on … . We really wanted to focus on bringing out more interactive organizations — we want this to be more about showcasing what exactly your org has to offer to the University and what community value you bring to campus.”

Singh also said the group invited Ann Arbor artisans to showcase their businesses for the first time this year.

“This year we really tried to reach out to artisans — that section of the festival is new, we’ve never had that before,” she said. “We tried to find smaller sellers and student sellers that might want to come to SpringFest.”

The artisan corner of the festival featured familiar local stores, including University Flower Shop and The M Den, as well as specialty boutiques for soaps and art. Stacey Hansen, owner and artist of Slow My Flow Art boutique, said it was meaningful to her that the student organization worked to include local businesses.

“They reached out going, ‘Hey, we’re running this and it would be a wonderful opportunity,’” Hansen said. “It’s definitely good for local businesses to be able to get their name out there, and you, the students — you guys are the shopping future.”

SpringFest also showcased student-run businesses like Star Laces, created by LSA sophomore Jordan Furr and Business sophomore Julia Reguera, which makes shoe laces featuring gender pronouns.

Reguera said Star Laces’ shoelaces are a fashionable way to make a social statement.

“As a cis person, it’s a really good way to show you’re an ally and it can help bridge the gap between not wanting to assume someone’s gender expression but also not wanting to target someone by asking,” Reguera said.

Furr elaborated further on the original goal and inspiration for the project.

“I wanted to make something that was fashionable so not only trans people want to be wearing their pronouns,” Furr said. “These have a very street style sort of energy and it’s just really exciting because there’s a lot of cis people who want to wear them and are really interested in them.”

The lines for trendy food trucks like Shimmy Shack, Regina’s Food Truck and the Detroit BBQ Company extended down State Street.

Student organizations promoting health, wellness and sustainable food practices on campus also attended SpringFest, with representatives from groups including the campus farm and Counseling and Psychological Services.

Another of these organizations was CAPS In Action, an group for students committed to improving the holistic health of the campus community. LSA freshman Alyssa Moore, a CAPS In Action volunteer, spoke on self-appreciation.

“I really like these tabling events because for mental health outreach, it’s just really nice to be able to see people on the street and see how much they enjoy spinning the wheel and saying something good about themselves.”

MUSIC Matters’ invited multiple local artists to perform during the Daytime festival before A$AP Ferg’s nighttime concert. Ben Robertson, lead singer for the band Leland Blue, spoke about the experience of performing at SpringFest for the first time.

“It’s our second time playing in Ann Arbor and I think this time was a lot more fun because it’s right downtown, really in the heart of the city,” he said. “This was cool because it was right by the campus and I felt more immersed in Ann Arbor as a city.”