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Hamtramck Music Fest just keeps getting better and better

The fun doesn’t stop after Paczki Day. The annual Hamtramck Music Fest returns, starting next Thursday.


By Alan Madlane
Hamtramck’s hippest music fest is on the horizon once again.
Specifically and officially called the “Hamtramck Music Fest” so there’s no mistaking, it boasts a lineup bursting at the seams with all manner of auditory pleasures.
And best yet, you can enjoy the whole weekend for a mere $15, which gets you an all-venue wristband. More on that later.
One of the first things one encounters at their website’s gates is a statement of tolerance.
“The Hamtramck Music Fest has a Zero Tolerance Policy regarding harassment, discrimination of any kind, and matters of public safety,” they state.
They encourage all such matters be brought to their attention, and promise swift and considered response.
And that’s a good thing.
But the music is the best thing. And there’s slabs of it.
Things kick off this coming Thursday (Feb. 27) but only at two locales, Bar/Ter (beginning at 8 p.m.) and The High Dive (at 8:30 p.m.).
It gets going in earnest on Friday at twenty-two of the two dozen venues. Early birds can enjoy free music at the Hamtramck Library starting at 5:30 p.m., and at Café 1923 at 6 p.m.
The other 20 bars and halls break it out big time starting anytime between 7:30 p.m. and 10 p.m., with most carrying on until one or two in the morning.
Saturday finds every venue, excepting the library, up and running.
And for the first time, this even includes St. Florian Church. Yes, you read that right.
The Parish is hosting three area musicians who are being allowed to play the church’s majestic pipe organ. This will definitely be historic.
We’ll let the festival organizers describe it:
“We’ve asked three of the Detroit area’s most creative keyboard musicians to turn their imaginations to the glorious pipe organ in St. Florian’s. For about 50 minutes (each) on February 29th, they will take you on a never-heard-before, never-to-be-heard-again musical journey of secular music, refashioned for the pipe organ.”
The performances begin at 7:30 p.m.
Delite Café, with Café 1923 again as well, bring free music to you starting at 3:30 p.m. and 3 p.m. respectively. All the rest crank it up at 7:30 (Whiskey in the Jar) and on from there.
The full schedule is available at
There is a list of some two dozen places (some of them, participating locations, but others not) where you can buy a wristband for the whole affair, or you can order it online through the website.
If you choose the latter method, you can then pick your wristband up at either of two will-call locations: Bar/Ter on Thursday night from 7 p.m. until 1 a.m., or Festival Headquarters at 10023 Jos. Campau (in, or adjacent to, the Harlequin Tattoo building, between Belmont and Yemans) on Friday and Saturday from 7 p.m. to 1 a.m.
And remember, there’s a charitable angle to all this too: every year, Festival profits are donated to help Hamtramck school students’ music and art programs with purchases of equipment and supplies.
If you ask us, this is Hamtramck at its best.
See you there.
Feb. 21, 2020

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