West Michigan

West Michigan spans from the southern border, to as far North as Muskegon, and from the Lake Michigan coast to as far East as Portland.

There are several news sources that are devoted to supporting and promoting local talent in West Michigan. Local Spins focuses on music news, artist spotlights, and reviews. Revue has a broader focus, but has a local music section that highlights songs, bands, venues, and general West Michigan music information.

Grand Rapids

Grand Rapids, the biggest city in West Michigan, is a center of a diverse music scene.

Major venues that host local bands include, The Intersection, a venue devoted to solely music, Founder’s Brewing, which hosts open mic nights as well as live acts from major Michigan bands, and The B.O.B. a four floor building with diverse food, music, and entertainment.

The B.O.B
The B.O.B. (short for Big Old Building) offers an array of food, music, and other entertainment.

The diversity of Grand Rapids, and West Michigan music is shown best in the annual Festival of the Arts. This three day long event turns the downtown area into a showcase for the best West Michigan music, dance, theater, and more.

Calder Plaza is transformed into a stage during Festival of the Arts

Notable bands from the city include La Dispute, Al Green, and Del Shannon.

Grand Rapids, a city that – in protest to claims that it was in decline – created a city wide lip dub, is a thriving center of musical talent and creativity. It was, in fact, rated the #1 tourist destination in the U.S. in 2014.


In 2012, Kalamazoo was ranked 8th best music scene of smaller metro areas in the nation. This ranking may seem odd to outsiders, but to locals, it was no surprise. As home to Kalamazoo College, the music scene is constantly in on the latest music trends, but there is also a very strong folk and roots community.

Popular venues include: The Wild Bull, a well known center of local pop, rock, country, and blues music, Bell’s Eccentric Cafe, serving the folk and roots community, and The Old Dog Tavern, which hosts open mic nights as well as performances from local bands.

Wild Bull
A performance at The Wild Bull

Notable bands from Kalamazoo include the Velvelettes.

Kalamazoo, a city mentioned in numerous songs by artists from Glenn Miller to Johnny Cash, is certainly a not-so-hidden gem of music culture.