Bled Fest 2017 | The History Behind It All


Autumn Miller

There are a few things that music-lovers dwelling in the greater Lansing area have heard about this past week. 1. Bled Fest is TODAY! 2. Your favorite station, the Impact, is presenting Stage C. 3. We’re just a little bit excited. While you probably feel prepared for the event after reading about the acts-to-see and glancing over our foolproof starter pack as to what to wear to the festival—I will fight to the death for Converse over Vans—do you know the story behind the event that’s focused on inclusion? The history is rich, and knowing about it only enhances the experience that much more.

Frequented by college-aged humans near and far, it’s only fitting that Bled Fest started in a basement. Originating from a guy named Ben “Big Love” Staub back in 2005, he invited all of the bands he knew for a pool party with his basement serving as the stage. The groups ranged from all different genres- but that was exactly the point of it all. Being that this was the start of a unknowing musical gathering that would continue on at the end of each school year, he wanted to show kids that bands from all walks of life, rocking out to all genres, could coexist within the same space. This need to teach, coupled with his moniker, resulted in the name “Big Love’s Educational Festival,” or as most of us know it as, Bled Fest.

Taking place at a couple of  different locations throughout the years, including a roller skating rink in Westland, the festival teamed up with Fusion Shows, which helped it find its ultimate home at Hartland Performing Arts Center, keeping it close to its roots. The whole event occurs inside of a high school, so forgetting your umbrella at home wouldn’t be the worst offense.

Doing some self-reflecting, Fusion Shows and Nate, the president of Fusion Shows who currently runs the festival, came to the realization that the festival lacked the diversity it really needed to thrive. Most of the bands booked were predominantly white and mostly male, and they knew that this aided in lacking representation. Bothered by this, they wanted to give 2017 Bled Fest a serious facelift. Doing so included two key things: creating a safe space for fans of all ages, sexual orientations, genders, races, and walks of life so that they can enjoy the various musicians playing while also learning about community with the help of non-profits and charities, and promoting diversity in a very singular town like Hartland by showcasing a broad range of bands.  Essentially, Bled Fest is supposed to feel like a warm and cozy blanket that just so happens to expose you to a whole lot of great music that’s never graced your ears. You know, a blanket that would riot the Top-40s charts.

This year, Bled Fest will take place on May 27th—today—at the place it found its rooting at, Hartland Performing Arts Center. Along with sponsors like Punk Talks and Have Fun Records, Impact will be promoting the show as well. Make sure to check us out at Stage C sometime during the day, where we’ll be presenting acts like Jahshua Smith and the Race Card and James Gardin. Groove out to some wicked tunes all while keeping in mind the layered history of it all- only while doing so at our stage. I may be a little biased, but ours may possibly be the coolest one there.

Find out more about Bled Fest, including a more detailed lineup and FAQs, here