Yesterday the Stars and Stripes Festival kicked off at its new home on the grounds of Freedom Hill in Sterling Heights.
Despite blazing temperatures and torrential downpours, the festival still drew a decent crowd but the rain did play havoc with the musical performances that were scattered throughout the grounds on four stages.
Those who were brave enough to stay through the periods of rain were lucky enough to see a number of great performances that finished with a killer performance from Collective Soul on the Budweiser Main Stage.
Many were unhappy with the fact that the festival was moving from downtown Mount Clemens to the re-opened Freedom Hill but having it on the park’s grounds has made for a lot more room to move around in and has allowed the festival to add a number of new activities and events.
Visitors can check out the festival’s large carnival midway, art fair, banana derby races, k-9 show, circus show, petting zoo, white tiger exhibit and salute to the military.
Monster truck rides and camel rides are also available.
Around 60 bands including local and national acts will be taking the stages during the three day festival.
On Friday, visitors could check out local artists like garage rocker, Amy Gore, jazz trio,Deon Yates and the Soul Project, and country rocker, Jo Caine, who opened for Randy Travis on the amphitheater stage.
Travis sounded great as he took to the stage with “Diggin’ Up Bones” and proceeded to run through a 21-song set list that included a number of his biggest hits.
A highlight was his performance of the song he co-wrote with Alan Jackson, “Better Class of Losers”, which he mixed in with Jackson’s song, “She’s Got the Rhythm (And I Got the Blues).
Local rap rockers, Critical Bill, have become a Stars and Stripes mainstay and many came out just to see them.
Unfortunately, right before they were to take the stage it started pouring and when a second attempt at starting the show was delayed by more rain, many of those who had gathered took off.
By the time the band finally took to the stage, there was a small crowd but those who stayed were allowed into the VIP area and helped liven up the set which ended with front man, Powerdise, taking to the crowd for their cover of House of Pain’s “Jump Around”.
The band’s set time was reduced because of the delays but they still managed to pack in some of their biggest hits from “This Is Critical” to “Get High”.
Collective Soul’s headlining set was also delayed due to the rain but by the time they hit the stage a much larger crowd had gathered.
Front man, Ed Roland, told the crowd that they wouldn’t be talking much because they wanted to get in as many songs as they could and thanked everyone for sticking it out through the rain and the crew for getting the stage ready for them.
The band kicked things off with “Heavy” and closed it out with their big hit, “Shine”.
Along the way they pulled out songs like “December”, “Gel” and “The World I Know” but the set highlight was a fantastic performance of their 2000 hit, “Why, Pt. 2”.
Tonight alternative rockers, Cake, took the stage in the amphitheater and national acts Drowning Pool and Saliva rocked the main stage.
Puddle of Mudd were supposed to headline but were a no-show.
Tomorrow Everlast and Halestorm will be on the main stage and Kool & The Gang will be playing in the amphitheater.
Tomorrow night also features a fireworks display.
The Stars and Stripes Festival runs tomorrow from noon to 11 p.m.
Admission is free, but there is a $15 fee to park onsite.
Free shuttle services are available from Bethesda Christian Church, Bishop Gallagher athletic complex and the Meijer store on 15 Mile and Utica roads.