Buses by the Beach’s Bus Benefit on Memorial Day weekend – annually, one of West Michigan’s earliest music festivals – won’t take place this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic that’s swept the state and the country.
Following on the heels of several other late spring and early summer Michigan festivals that have canceled or postponed 2020 events, the Buses by the Beach board voted to cancel the festival.
The camping festival which boasts three days of performances by regional artists had been slated to take place May 22-25 at Camp Blodgett along Lake Michigan in West Olive north of Holland.
“It is with a heavy heart that we, as a board, have made the difficult decision to cancel this year’s Bus Benefit presented by Buses by the Beach,” the board said in a message to members.
“After many discussions with Camp Blodgett, local township officials and other Michigan festival organizers we feel that this is the best thing for our tribe, our health and our community. Our goal is to bring back as many artists from this year's line up as possible when we gather next year.”
It would have been the 19th year for the celebration hosted by the Buses by the Beach organization, which caters to Volkswagen bus owners and raises funds for the Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors.
Other Michigan festivals over the past week also have pulled the plug for 2020: The 48th annual Charlotte Bluegrass Festival held at the Eaton County Fairgrounds canceled its June 25-27 event, East Lansing’s Summer Solstice Jazz Festival has scrapped its June 19-20 celebration in downtown East Lansing, the Dam Jam slated for June 26-27 in Calumet pulled the plug, and August’s Porcupine Mountains Music Festival announced the “sad news” that uncertainty swirling around COVID-19 had forced them to take a one-year hiatus.
They join a long list of Michigan festivals that had previously canceled 2020 events, including Electric Forest, Blissfest, Camp Greensky, Nor-East’r Music & Art Festival and Hiawatha Traditional Music Festival.
The 2019 Bus Benefit – which drew several hundred people – featured sets by Michigan bands Political Lizard, Nicholas James & The Bandwagon, B-Side Growlers, Fauxgrass, Full Cord, The Go Rounds, Deerfield Run, The Gasoline Gypsies, The Legal Immigrants and Roosevelt Diggs.
The yearly event also features jam sessions, children’s games, a high rope course, rock wall, yoga, a silent auction and more.
For those who purchased tickets to this year’s Bus Benefit, refunds are available by May 6 via email through firstname.lastname@example.org by providing the confirmation number for the tickets.
However, Buses by the Beach is encouraging those who bought tickets to make that purchase a donation to the Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors.
“We hope to see you all when we gather at Bus Boo (another event) the first weekend in October,” the statement concluded. “Please take time to spread some love and send out positive energy to the universe.”
— Find more West Michigan music news and live-stream concert listings at LocalSpins.com. Email John Sinkevics at email@example.com.