Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Dirt Fest Moves to Pontiac and Takes Over the Town

This year the organizers behind Dirt Fest announced that they would be moving the annual music festival from its home in Birch Run to Pontiac. Fans reacted with mixed emotions, some excited that the fest would be closer to their home, others skeptical about how the event would be in a different location. But, now that Dirt Fest 2016 has come and gone, everyone that attended can agree that it was awesome!

For those that don't know, Dirt Fest was started about 20 years ago by a couple of guys that decided to have some bands play in a park pavilion in Birch Run, Michigan. Flash forward to 2016. The festival brought out big names like Asking Alexandria and Killswitch Engage, who played alongside numerous local acts. We recently talked to Dirt Fest co-founder Matt Dalton about the fest and its origins on our podcast. You can check that out here.
We must admit, at first we too were unsure how we felt about Dirt Fest packing up and moving locations. It was always fun to load up the car, head about an hour north, and spend the day in a parking lot in Birch Run. At the same time, we were super stoked that this festival would be closer to home and that more Metro Detroiters would have the opportunity to check it out.

As soon as we approached the gates at this year's fest, we were blown away! This year the Dalton Brothers and Dirt Fest family joined forces with The Crofoot in Pontiac and made the parking lot across from the venue their festival grounds. The lot featured 4 stages as well as vendors and food stands.
In addition to the 4 outdoor stages, the stage inside The Crofoot Ballroom was also utilized for the event. This was the first big change to what mainly was an outdoor festival in the past. Sure, there was the VIP area inside the Birch Run Expo Center for the bands and workers, but in past years most of the fans spent the day outside. With the addition of The Crofoot and their adjacent venues, festival goers could head inside to check out music, grab a drink, use the restroom, or even just cool off for a bit. This was a huge plus!

Outside the arrangement of the stages allowed you to check out the band you wanted to watch, while not hearing too much bleed over from other stages. It gave you plenty of room to get from stage to stage or check out vendor stands, while still being in a slightly more intimate setting in comparison to in the past.
One thing that wasn't different from past Dirt Fests is that once again this festival blew fans away with an amazing lineup! For us, the highlights of the day included sets by Hatebreed, Born of Osiris, Asking Alexandria, and of course those hometown boys in Wilson. The crowd and the bands fed off each other's energy throughout the day and into the night. The threat of rain didn't keep the droves of people away and every band made sure to deliver an awesome show to those fans. It was amazing to see these huge national acts take part in this festival, while praising the crew behind it, and showing the crowd how happy they were to be there. Time after time, bands were on stage talking about how kick ass Dirt Fest is, and their sentiments proved to be true when you would see them back stage giving organizers like Matt Dalton a huge hug or a high five. There's a reason that big names like Asking Alexandria and Jamey Jasta return to the Dirt Fest stage time and time again.
Not only do the bands return year after year, but so do the fans and the vendors. The Dalton Brothers have made sure to include their friends and their friends' companies in this festival every year. Once again this year, InkAddict set up shop and hosted meet and greets throughout the day. They also added a cool new addition this time around with a graffiti wall that fans could leave their mark on. Next door, PRTY Crew Collective set up shop alongside Vile Company. And as always, Hip In Detroit made sure we were there throughout the day to check out the party. Although there were thousands of fans there and hundreds people involved on the business side of things, the organizers and specifically the Daltons, made sure that everyone they crossed paths with knew how much they appreciated that you were there. Whether you were there to party, play on stage, or sell your goods, they wanted you to know that they were stoked that you were a part of it. That's not something that you will see at Warped Tour, Mayhem, or any of the other fests that bring these big names to town, and that's one of the big reasons that this festival is so successful!
We'd like to congratulate everyone behind Dirt Fest 2016 on putting on an amazing event! It was truly a kick ass day that blew everyone away. If you missed out this time around, don't make the mistake of missing Dirt Fest next year! Make sure you head over and like Dirt Fest on Facebook here to stay in the loop on next year's event. Even though this year's fest just ended, it won't be long until we start hearing about Dirt Fest 2017!


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