The Michigan State University Museum presents the Great Lakes Folk Festival in downtown East Lansing, Michigan — music, dance and culture from across America and around the world.
The award-winning Great Lakes Folk Festival, produced by the MSU Museum’s Michigan Traditional Arts Program, is a celebration of culture, tradition and community. The Michigan State University Museum works year-round to develop this festival program that reflects the immense variety and vitality of art, skill, knowledge, and wisdom of our cultural heritage for the public. GLFF offers a one-of-a-kind mix of music and dance stages, demonstrations of traditional arts and storytelling, food, an arts marketplace, and many special activities for kids
The Common Ground Music Festival is a not for profit 501 c3 corporation, Center Park Productions. Center Park Productions was established in 2000 by the Lansing Entertainment & Public Facilities Authority (LEPFA) in a partnership with the conceptual creator of the festival, MiEntertainment Group (MEG).
For twenty years the Summer Solstice Jazz Festival (SSJF) has offered a free, multiple-stage, live outdoor music event for residents and visitors of Greater Lansing. The SSJF is a celebration of jazz music, one of the truly original American art forms, that includes performances by nationally recognized and regional performers, as well as youth and community education.
A few things that describe Paul Rosenberg: Michigan State University alumnus, Eminem’s manager, Shady Records co-founder, executive producer, attorney, and President of Goliath Management. On October 28st Paul Rosenberg gave a Q&A in the Cook Recital Hall in West Circle. The event was scheduled a day before the MSU v UofM Game, and as he is an alumnus of Michigan State I assume that was conscious decision. Students from multiple disciplines packed into the room to ask him questions about the industry, his career path, and his advice for the future. I was lucky enough to be able to sit down with him after this Q&A to open up an adjacent topic: hip hop and education.
Rebekah Small: So, we have a faculty member who wants to teach a special topics course on hip hop…
Paul Rosenberg: Good!
RS: Yeah, and it’s been a source of some discussion wherein hip hop and education has been a common combination. For example, we have a lot of professors of practice in things like film and design, do you see your contemporaries headed that way? In the music industry could there be a similar transition from industry to academia?
PR: I definitely don’t think that it should be prevented from becoming academic, or something that shouldn’t be taught, but the kind of artists who would become involved with something academic are the ones whose music sort of informs that. Could I see a guy like Nas or Mos Def or Common going more into that? Sure, because those types of guys are those types of thinkers. And it seems like they would have more of a sort of natural interest in those sorts of things. But I don’t think you have to be a rapper in order to teach about hip hop. I think rather than teach about hip hop the more interesting things that I hear about are when people use it as a framework to study things.
So if we had someone teaching a course on these modern instances of police brutality problems and how communities are dealing with it and you analyzed it with the hip hop perspective. I think something like that, just for instance, could be really interesting. I think that using hip hop to understand those things is very useful.
RS: And we are seeing that too with subjects other than political issues. Hamilton using hip hop to teach history or even the science program at the Nueva School using hip hop to teach photosynthesis to middle schoolers.
PR: I think it’s incredible! And why not? I mean, hip hop is a purely American art form, right? That was created here and rose out of communities here and there wasn’t one purpose for it. When it started it was purely entertainment, it was party music. People were able to take that and use it for different things, and if people are using it in education, great, why not?
I mean the closest thing we ever had to that when I was in school, was KRS-One, he was a pioneer. He had a group called Boogie Down Productions and when I was in school he was the Kendrick Lamar of our time. And he was on a lecture circuit. And he would come to schools and talk about Hip Hop, politics, religion, race, culture, all those things and how they collide. And he actually came here twice while I was in school here. And for me that was like.. greatest thing in the world. Which is one of the reasons that I come here to do these things because I’m not him and I’m certainly not a famous rapper but if I have the ability to give people a sort of window into what I do and my story, I think that that’s important and I wished that there was more of it when I was here so that’s why I do it.
RS: One of the things that Media Sandbox is concerned with is that a lot of students go through their undergraduate career and not have much to show for it besides schoolwork and we’re trying to facilitate anything that will encourage students to build a portfolio and collaborate. Speaking from the music industry, how do you see collaboration, and how would you encourage students to work with each other on new and exciting projects?
PR: I think collaboration is great. I think it should obviously have a purpose, or some sort of focus.. But if there’s an opportunity for people of different disciplines to collaborate on stuff together I think that’s great. I think you learn more about people, but also about whatever your collaborators are doing and how it could potentially impact what you’re interested in.
RS: Final question: That course on hip hop, if you were to teach it what would you want to make sure that those kids know?
PR: I would probably want to teach a general overview of the music industry and how it relates to hip hop and what the various functions are of the different organizations, people and professionals, involved in the industry and how it relates to it. I think that that’s important.
Music by Marvels
A SONG: https://soundcloud.com/marvels_band
Senior Ben Grider always thought he wanted to start his advertising career after MSU in the film industry. It wasn’t until after his internship with Meridian Entertainment Group that he realized a career in music was much more his style.
He was thrilled when he landed a summer internship as a marketing intern at Meridian Entertainment Group, because he was able to put entertainment experience on his resume.
“I felt a very big sense of importance,” said Grider. “I didn’t expect to feel like I had such a large impact in preparation for concerts. When I went to shows, I looked around and felt proud that I was a part of these productions.”
Grider said he was excited to have large responsibilities, even as an intern. Meridian Entertainment Group facilitates large concerts and shows, such as Lansing’s Common Ground. There are around seven full time employees and Grider was one of a few interns for the summer.
“The coolest part of our team was that there are essentially a handful of people that put on these massive shows,” Grider said. “It’s an incredible feeling.”
As part of his internship, Grider would reach out to artists and their publicists, try to obtain merchandise that they could give to radio stations, coordinate interviews between artists and media outlets, and even indirectly tell Johnny Depp what to do.
Part of Grider’s role included trying to persuade artists to create shout out videos for the Meridian Entertainment Group shows. Hollywood Vampire, featuring Johnny Depp, shot a video mentioning their show at Soaring Eagle Casino.
“Watching something like that just again makes me feel like the work I am doing is impacting fans, artists and the music community,” Grider said. “I never thought I would have experiences like this in college.”
Talking on the phone with publicists and being in a constant professional environment made Grider comfortable speaking in front of others. He said he learned a lot about patience and dealing with all types of personalities.
During his undergraduate career Grider received the Sven Kins Scholarship Award, which helped him focus on gaining experience.
“There was never a day where I didn’t want to go to work,” Grider said. “The staff was incredible, the people were awesome and I was able to ask everyone the questions I had about the music industry.”
By Meg Dedyne
Bring your lunch to the crossroads of American roots music with Jen Sygit! The Acoustic Lunch series is offered in collaboration with Pump House Concerts, held monthly.
On November 14th, our meeting will be held at the Eli & Edythe Broad Art Museum
The Michigan BluesFest (formerly Old Town BluesFest) is a two-day FREE music festival that brings national, regional, and local acts to an audience of roughly 7,000 people from across Michigan and nearby states. The festival continues, rain or shine, with covered stages and some covered seating. If the forecast is discouraging, bring an umbrella. Of course, if severe weather would jeopardize persons or equipment, performances will be halted until such conditions have passed.
The 2015 festival will take place Friday, September 18 and Saturday, September 19, in the streets of Old Town, surrounded by the best of the Capital City’s art galleries as well as unique retail stores and grand architecture. Festival vendors offer delicious ethnic and American food, beverages, jewelry, clothing and crafts, and nearby galleries and boutiques open their doors during festival hours.
BluesFest’s music truly is living music, history in the making. Each artist at the festival is asked to play an original composition, something that hasn’t been played to the public before.
The award-winning Great Lakes Folk Festival, produced by the MSU Museum’s Michigan Traditional Arts Program, is a celebration of culture, tradition and community. The Michigan State University Museum works year-round to develop this festival program that reflects the immense variety and vitality of art, skill, knowledge, and wisdom of our cultural heritage for the public. GLFF offers a one-of-a-kind mix of music and dance stages, demonstrations of traditional arts and storytelling, authentic ethnic food, an arts marketplace, and many special activities for kids and their companions.
Entering its 21st year, the Lansing JazzFest is a two-day FREE music festival that brings national, regional, and local acts to an audience of roughly 7,000 people from across Michigan and nearby states.
JazzFest’s music truly is living music, history in the making. Each artist at the festival is asked to play an original composition, something that hasn’t been played at any other festival.
The 2015 festival will take place Friday, August 7 & Saturday, August 8, in the streets of Old Town, surrounded by the best of the Capital City’s art galleries as well as unique retail stores and grand architecture. Vendors offer delicious food, beverages, art, clothing, and crafts, and nearby galleries and boutiques open their doors during festival hours.
JazzFest is produced by MICA (Michigan Institute for Contemporary Art).