For Grove Studios, fall’s arrival calls for an annual celebration of music, creativity and community.
The Ypsilanti rehearsal and recording space will host an “Equinox Party” Saturday to bring artists, musicians, creatives and community leaders together for an evening of networking and performances.
“We had a similar event last year, and it’s like an anniversary party for us. It’s also a back-to-school event celebrating the fall intermixed with networking and performances,” said Erich Friebel, Grove Studios partner and director of operations and community. “We’re going to have people from different support organizations and service providers and feature performances from a variety of rock bands, hip-hop artists and DJs.”
The “Equinox Party” will feature presentations from Grove Studios, Alexis Ford from the Music and Arts Guild, Ypsilanti Mayor Beth Bashert, Dan McPherson from Leaders Must Lead, Leo Casares with Issa Wrap Productions, E-Man Bates with Beats and Brews podcast, Rod Wallace from Double Negative People and RW Consulting, and Taylor Greenshields of Fundamental Sound Co.
“I just want people to take away how welcoming and opening the vibe is and how it’s a place where artists can come and they can create, and it’s not just about coming into a studio space with 55 racks on the wall that are never being used,” said Wallace, who serves as the studio’s lead engineer.
“It’s really a place where true collaboration and true artistic freedom can happen, and there’s a great deal of trust that the owners have in allowing people to come into this space 24/7/365.”
The “Equinox Party” also will include performances from Steve Somers and Friends, Painted Friends, Still in Denial, DJ Nitro, Graham Rockwood and Rockwell Music Therapy artists, Louis Picasso and The Gallery, and Wallace as well as live painting from Doradiaspora and Holly Schoenfield.
“These presentations and performances are from people who use our space and patronize our growth. We’re about a year and a half in at the current location, and prior to that, we had been doing events at Riverside Arts Center,” Friebel said. “Before that, when we were at the Michigan Avenue location, Alexis Ford from the Music and Arts Guild was doing a lot of the booking for us for events there.”
In late 2016, Friebel teamed up with Rick Coughlin and Breck Crandell to launch Grove Studios as a rehearsal and recording space for local musicians and artists. A few months later, they won the inaugural Pitch Ypsi competition and received $5,000 toward their vision of developing portable recording studios built from shipping containers.
By early 2018, they relocated from 1145 Michigan Ave. to their current space at 884 Railroad St. Today, Grove Studios provides a 24/7 automated rehearsal and recording space combined with community outreach and architectural innovation. They also partner with an advisory board comprised of consultants, entrepreneurs, community leaders and technologists.
“The whole idea behind Grove is to make it so that it’s easy for musicians to make their music,” said Friebel, who also performs with Coughlin in Kristianna & The DayNites. “Now, we’ve added the live recording piece and a DJ room, and eventually we’re hoping to add video. We also want to add livestreaming audio and video so we can be a place where musicians can get in anytime they want and with whomever they want to create content that’s distribution-ready.”
With a growing clientele, Grove Studios serves some 250 musicians and artists from Ypsilanti, Ann Arbor, Detroit, Jackson and other nearby areas. They also hope to expand to other locations in southeast Michigan as well as Grand Rapids, Toledo, Cleveland and South Bend.
“This space in Ypsi is our proving ground. This is where we really want to zero in on all of the systems and get that happening,” Friebel said. “We want to fill the void where musicians need places where they can go and practice and hone their craft.”
Outside of their rehearsal and recording space, Grove Studios sponsors stages at different local events, including 734 Saturdays, First Fridays Ypsilanti and The Plugin, and provides sound equipment and engineering services for live performances.
Each month, Wallace partners with Grove Studios to host The Plugin, a producer and beatmaker showcase and competition for local artists, at 734 Brewing Company in Ypsilanti. The former high school administrator and teacher launched in the event in May after running a student music production program. The next Plugin will take place Oct. 14.
“I tried to find a place in town that would cater to the laptop musician, the bedroom musician. There isn’t a lot of collaboration because they’re kind of like mad scientists. They stay to themselves and do what they do, and they might work with an artist,” said Wallace, who’s currently pursuing his doctoral degree in urban education and hip-hop pedagogy at Eastern Michigan University.
“I wanted to create a venue where not only could they work together and show off their skills, but it was an environment that catered toward networking and connecting with artists.”
Besides supporting local events, Grove Studios is working toward their vision of providing portable, self-contained 320-square-foot recording studios built from shipping containers in conjunction with Detroit’s Three Squared.
As portable studios, these shipping containers could be erected quickly and delivered to different locations.
“We have room at the current site to do a prototype, so that may be something that we’re looking at in the next year,” Friebel said. “We’re always looking for an opportunity to move to space within Ypsi or a possible move to Detroit for a second location.”
4:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. | Saturday, Sept. 21
Grove Studios, 884 Railroad St. in Ypsilanti
$10 admission | $7 admission with current student ID