Freedom Rock: Photo recap of the music-filled holiday weekend

The Smiling Acres Music Fest wrapped up three days of live music over the 4th of July weekend, but there were also concerts that delighted crowds in Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo. See photos on Local Spins.

Live music and fireworks: they went hand in hand at Smiling Acres. (Photo/Anna Sink)


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West Michigan Music Scene

Some might say that the real fireworks happened AFTER the pyrotechnic show.

Grand Rapids alternative metal/rock band Deepfall closed the 2022 edition of the Smiling Acres Music Festival on Sunday night with a real bang after the three-day fireworks commemorating the 4th of July at the 40-acre site at the exterior of Trufant.

The groups Drain the water and Deepfall followed these colorful explosions in the air with an explosive attack on the main stage, the final salvo of the sophomore festival which featured several dozen performances on two stages.

Rocking Finale: Deepfall on stage. (Photo/Anna Sink)

Fans literally couldn’t smile, making for a deep drop in Smiling Acres at the end of a busy weekend.

“This festival is a great family place. I have my two daughters here and they love it,” said Howard City participant Tynan Calderwood.

“Smile Acres Music Festival has great people and great food,” said elated Grand Rapids festival-goer Amber Bowen. “It’s just good vibes all around.”

Good vibes were everywhere during a long weekend packed with live music, from Trufant to Grand Rapids (Lipstick Jodi, Joshua Powell) to Kalamazoo (Dixon’s Violin). Scroll down for photo galleries and check out a full review with footage from Sunday’s Sheryl Crow/Allison Russell concert at Meijer Gardens.

Plus, check out Smiling Acres Day 1 local tour coverage online here. And read the highlights from the festival weekend below:

Patty PerShayla (Photo/Anna Sink)

Patty Pershayla – Before Patty Pershayla & The Mayhaps of Grand Rapids hit the main stage at Smiling Acres, Pershayla pumped up the festival’s new second stage on Saturday afternoon for a solo performance. Playing a variety of his discography from “Charmed” to “Little Nesting Doll”, it was an eclectic set of soft rock songs filled with deep meaning. “The festival is aptly named because people are really smiling and everyone is very friendly. It was nice to be able to play in such a freeing atmosphere,” said PerShayla. –Robert Novak

Djangophonic – After performing on the second stage earlier in the afternoon, Djangophonique from Ann Arbor took to the main stage on Saturday for an authentic gypsy jazz experience. The all-instrumental four-piece hot club jazz band played songs mostly from their debut studio album with more contemporary piece that resonated with the audience. “We were happy to play in front of a great audience and proud to represent West Michigan’s hot jazz club,” said Andrew Brown, lead guitarist for Djangophonique. –Robert Novak

Radio Earth – “Let’s get cosmic baby,” shouted a festival presenter as Grand Rapids’ Earth Radio took the stage. Treating the crowd to a performance filled with luscious jazzy soul music backed by alien undertones, Earth Radio found its groove and turned this thing up all night long. As the set drew to a close, a lengthy improvisational piece ensued, allowing each band member to show off their musical talent. The crowd obviously loved this showcase, thanks to its shrill uproar once Earth Radio finally completed its galactic journey. –Benjamin Blackburn

Reverend Peyton (Photo/Anna Sink)

Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band – With Reverend Peyton himself wearing handsome brown overalls and his wife, Breezy Peyton, outfitted with his famous washboard, Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band gave the Smiling Acres Music Festival a taste of authentic country blues . With Indiana-based Reverend Peyton headlining Saturday’s festivities, the crowd for this performance was by far the largest the main stage had seen all day. Although the group is not physically large, having only three members, Reverend Peyton and his friends manage to conjure up a fucking sound. –Benjamin Blackburn

PHOTO GALLERIES: Smiling Acres Music Festival (Days 2 & 3)
Photos by Anna Sink