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First Things

Lil’ Ed & the Blues Imperials
July 2024

Kalamazoo Blues Fest is back

Celebrating its 30th year of honoring blues music and blues culture, the Kalamazoo Blues Fest returns July 27 to downtown Kalamazoo’s Arcadia Creek Festival Place.

Performers will include Blues Hall of Fame group Lil’ Ed & the Blues Imperials, the Out of Favor Boys, the JR Clark Band, The Jimmy’s, Nikki Hill with Laura Chavez, and Mandalyn & the Hunters, which recently appeared at the Memphis Blues Foundation’s International Blues Challenge.

The festival runs from noon–11 p.m., and tickets cost $25. For more information, visit

Dokidokon to descend on downtown

Dokidokon, a convention devoted to anime and gaming, will be held at downtown Kalamazoo’s Radisson Plaza Hotel July 19–21, with cosplay, celebrities and concerts.

The event features panels, performances, dance parties, workshops, vendors, a cosplay contest and meet-and-greet sessions with luminaries of the anime and gaming world.

Weekend passes are $30–$55, or $180 for VIP weekend passes. For more information or to register, visit

Event spotlights female musicians

The Grammy-nominated wife-and-husband country duo The War and Treaty will headline the Fair Ground Festival July 27 at the Barry County Expo Center, in Hastings.

The festival, which was launched last year by the Thornapple Arts Council, has a mission of supporting women in the music industry. In addition to The War and Treaty, the July 27 lineup includes the Michigan mainstays The Accidentals as well as the folk-pop sibling trio Bailen, rock singer and guitarist Hannah Wicklund, Nashvile singer/songwriter Alanna Royale, and The Rebel Eves, a Michigan trio that includes Kalamazoo’s Grace Thiesen.

This year the festival has added a pre-festival party July 26 with performances by the folk-pop duo The Burney Sisters and the indie rock, pop and blues couple In the Valley Below.

The pre-party will begin at 7 p.m. July 26 and the festival at 2 p.m. July 27. Tickets are $25–$50 for general admission, or $200 for VIP tickets. Parking is $5. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit

KIA to host free Community Day

In observance of its 100th anniversary, the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts invites the community to its Centennial Community Day, which will offer free admission and events July 13.

In addition to offering the opportunity to browse current exhibits from 11 a.m.–5 p.m., the day will feature local children’s book author Emmy Kasten reading from her book While You’re Asleep from 10:30–11:30 a.m. and activities such as making commemorative 100th anniversary glasses and birthday hats and signing a community birthday card for the KIA from 11:30 a.m.–4 p.m.
For more information, visit

Sarah Jarosz to perform at Bell’s

Sarah Jarosz, a four-time Grammy-winning singer/songwriter, will bring her award-winning music to Bell’s Beer Garden July 11.

Jarosz has won Grammys in the roots, Americana and folk music categories and is touring to support her seventh album, Polaroid Lovers, which was released in January.

The ages 18-and-up show starts at 8 p.m., and tickets are $25–$75. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit

Encore Magazine

Encore Magazine is Southwest Michigan’s Magazine, bringing readers intriguing images and stories of the good things, good works and great people of our corner of the mitten. Published 12 times a year, Encore in its fifth decade of serving Southwest Michigan, carrying on a historic tradition of being the premier lifestyle publication of the greater Kalamazoo area.

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