Interview | On the Stoop with Organizers of StoopFest


Kale Guenther

StoopFest is back and better than ever, and a ton of people in the Lansing DIY music scene have been patiently waiting for its return. Whether you like music, comedy, art or competitive gaming, StoopFest has it, all in venues you are probably not used to seeing performances.

In 2020, the music festival had to be canceled, like many others, and went on hiatus for two years. The allure of the festival is not only the quality of entertainers performing, but the actual locations themselves. In the past, all of the venues were living rooms of houses in the Eastside Lansing area, but in order to help keep festival-goers safe, this year Hunter Park has been added as a venue. StoopFest’s website says it best: 

“The goal for the fifth year remains the same: 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 east side has to offer to residents and non-residents alike.”

Impact sat down with co-organizers Dom Korzecke, Sarah Dropsey, Jacob Nevin and Emma G. to talk about bringing StoopFest back in a post-pandemic world, if you could call it that, what a newcomer to Lansing can expect at their first StoopFest, and much more. 

Note: This interview has been edited for length and clarity


Impact: Dom, you mentioned that you’re kind of the dad of the whole StoopFest thing, so how did this whole festival get started?

Dom Korzecke: Before StoopFest, I‘d been throwing house shows on the Eastside Neighborhood of Lansing for a while and was kind of involved with that scene. I had heard about a festival they were doing in Grand Rapids called Lamp Light. It was a similar concept, except it was two to three houses that were right next to each other that all threw simultaneous house shows. I thought it was a really cool idea, and I wanted to throw something similar to that on the Eastside of Lansing since there were so many different houses here that were doing things. I just reached out to all the people I know on the Eastside that were doing things, and was like, “Hey, y’all wanna work together to make this happen?” and everyone was pretty enthusiastic about it. So that’s where the first year took off. We had I think six or seven houses and they weren’t next to each other like Lamp Light was, they were kind of all across the neighborhood. But that added to the charm of walking across the neighborhood to all of these different houses.


Impact: How does that aspect make StoopFest unique and give it some of its charm?

Emma G: I think that one of the things is that house venues are often these insular communities. Speaking as somebody who has lived for four years at a house where there have been house shows going on for a decade, our house shows are generally the same somewhat amorphous group of 30 people and occasionally some other people depending on the bands we bring in. There are always these other house venues that have their own group of 30 people, and I think StoopFest is about taking all of these little microscenes that already exist and cramming them all together in one festival to experience what everyone else in town is doing.


Impact: What do you think it means for the Eastside community side of things?

Sarah Dropsey: Well there aren’t really any local venues right now, which I think is probably not working in our favor, but it makes Stoopfest feel even more important since we don’t have those spaces right now. We’re just making do with what we do have. We’re using Hunter Park this year, and I don’t know if they’ve done shows there in the past. We don’t have Mac’s and all-ages venues anymore, so we have to get creative. I feel like it will be fun and I’m excited to see that. We are lacking in the venues department in Lansing right now.

Emma: I’ve seen multiple articles come out about different venues opening up in the downtown area, but they’re not really the kind of thing that will help out a local scene. There’s bigger things in the works, but in terms of smaller venues that are accessible to new and up-and-coming bands, there’s still a big, gaping hole unfortunately.


Impact: What made 2022 the year to come back, rather than maybe waiting another year for things to get a little better?

Dom: I have no idea.

Emma: We had talked a little bit about 2021, but settled on not doing that pretty quickly. When we had our initial meetings about 2022, there wasn’t any Omicron yet, and things were looking pretty good, better than they had ended up being. At a certain point, it’s like “How many years are we gonna not do it? Other festivals are happening.”

Dom: Being able to commit to outside made me feel confident that we can do it.

Emma: Until we got Hunter Park, I was like “Maybe it will happen? Who’s to say?” But once we were able to commit to being all outdoors, it felt a whole lot more secure.


Impact: StoopFest isn’t just music, so how does that bridge the gap for exposure for not only new musicians, but for other types of artists like comedians as well?

Dom: We try to make StoopFest as multi-experience as possible. There is really no limit to what can’t be at StoopFest, as long as there’s someone willing to do it. As long as there’s somebody with some idea for a cool experience and wants to do it at StoopFest, we’re very open to it. We’ve tried to expand into as many areas as we have people we know about. We’ve had comedy every year, we’ve had art installations every year, we have music, of course, every year. Last year, well I guess it’s not last year anymore, in 2019 we incorporated a competitive gaming element and that was really successful as well. We just want to keep expanding all the experiences you can have.

Sarah: I literally forgot about that until just now. I sat for like two hours just watching Super Smash Brothers that year.

Emma: I lost very badly. That’s what happened to me.

Jacob Nevin: I took third and I’m very proud of it. I’m so proud of it, it’s in my Tinder bio.


Impact: Going individually, what’s everyone’s origins in booking shows and breaking into the whole DIY, local music and local art scene?

Sarah: I was working at the Impact and then I started interning at Fusion Shows, which isn’t a thing anymore, but they used to book a lot of shows in Michigan. They got bought by The Crofoot who I now work for, which is a venue in Pontiac. I used to work at Mac’s when that was also a thing. Kind of just doing a whole bunch of stuff. I’ve worked a whole bunch of festivals and met a lot of people from different areas of the music industry, and someone that I worked with at Mac’s said “Do you want to help with StoopFest this year?” And I said “Yeah, I love StoopFest,” and here we are. It has been a wild ride.

Emma: I am from California originally, and I started playing shows and booking shows probably around 2009 there. Eventually I ended up living in Oregon for a while where I was really involved in the music scene, and then I lived on the floor of a warehouse venue in Boulder, Colorado for a while. Then I made my way out here where I have obviously been involved with StoopFest and stuff like that, but also I worked at Mac’s Bar for a while, I worked at The Loft, I’ve been involved with putting on and helping to put together festivals for a very long time.

Jacob: I also started with Impact. I did the Hourz O’ Power for about five years, give or take. With that, I started promoting local metal shows with The Dark Art of Michigan, and then after Impact volunteered with that, I worked those shows. I judged for Homegrown Throwdown at The Loft when that was a thing, just stuff like that.

Dom: I’m originally from the Lansing area, so I’ve been attending DIY shows since I was in high school. I got involved in booking when an artist I really like, a ska artist named Dan Potthast, was doing a living room tour and basically said, “If you want to host me, just send me an email.” I said, “Yeah, fuck it I’ll email him.” He agreed, so we set up a show and that was my first venture into hosting events. It went really well, so I kind of just kept having them. 


Impact: What can somebody going to their first StoopFest expect?

Dom: You can expect to see a bunch of really cool bands and experiences and really cool spaces where you’re not used to seeing bands. You can probably get to know some people in the community as well.

Emma: I think with StoopFest, you have two main options. Because everything is so siloed, you have this house, this house, this house, and Hunter Park now. I think what your options are is to get a schedule and make a list of the bands you want to see, and then run around all day which is its own thing. I have never gotten to have that experience because I’m always working the same show. I also think it’s really worthwhile to go to one venue and just be there. Pick one that has some bands you’re excited about. But you’re going to see a ton of stuff you have never heard of that maybe you like, maybe you don’t like, but will all be interesting and fun.

Jacob: StoopFest is a choose your own adventure. You can choose to sit in one spot, you can choose to go all over the Eastside Neighborhood. It’s up to you.

Dom: You can go to just watch comedy!

Jacob: Yeah, you can do that too. I think if you sit in one spot, you might find yourself getting exposed to something you didn’t plan on and you might really love it, but if you stick to your plan you’ll find stuff you know you love too. It’s a win-win.

Sarah: Unless there’s artists I know I really, really  want to see, I feel like I never try to have a plan other than trying to make it to every single house at least once. There are different things at every single house. I like checking out the bands that have cool names that you’ve never heard of before. 

Emma: That’s so funny to me because I haven’t seen most of the houses. I think it was 2019 when I was running one of the houses and the only time I went to another house was when the other house had a problem with their setup. There was something wrong with the mixing board, so I gave someone else the helm at my house and ran through the alley, troubleshooted, and ran back. That was the only time I was like, “Oh, there’s totally different people here!” I saw all of these people that I knew and was like, “Hey! How’s it going?”

Sarah: I’ve never worked it, so that’s something I’ve never had to worry about. I have been free as a bird every year.

Dom: Have you ever done every house in the same year?

Sarah: Yeah. Making it to every single place was my only plan. I walked so many miles every StoopFest, it’s insane. Also getting El Oasis every year is a mandatory thing for me. 

Dom: Every single band we book is amazing, so you can’t go wrong.


Impact: What’s the best, or the most exciting thing about StoopFest being back for all of you?

Dom: Just being able to have a bunch of music on the Eastside in the spring. It’s going to feel very spring and I’m very excited for it. 

Emma: Stoopfest is the first day of spring.

Sarah: It really is. 

Emma: How I’ve always felt is that spring starts on the first day of Stoopfest. It’s the first day where you get this feeling of “Winter is over. I have this manic energy.” You get into June and think “Oh no! It’s summer, how did this happen?” I’m looking forward to experiencing that again. It hasn’t felt like Lansing without StoopFest. It’s like a return to some sense of place that has maybe been missing for a lot of people.

Jacob: Yeah, I need to see everyone’s faces again. It has been so long since I’ve seen everybody and I know StoopFest has everybody. So I want to go see them.

Sarah: That’s what I was going to say. I’m excited to see all of the people, especially with there being no Lansing venues, I’m not seeing those people every week. Seeing the same folks that frequent a bunch of shows that I haven’t seen since before COVID will be very nice. And it will be warm-ish.

Emma: And new faces! Like people who have moved here in the last two years who would go to shows, but there haven’t been any so I don’t even know these people. But if not for the pandemic, we probably would have hung out a bunch of times.

Editor’s Note: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated Jacob Nevin promoted local metal concerts with the Dark Herd of Michigan. This version has been corrected to note Nevin’s involvement with The Dark Art of Michigan.