Music hasn't been a strength of ArtPrize, but it is slowly becoming a bigger part of the event and the music featured is getting better. This year, there are over 50 musical entries in the Blue Bridge Music Festival. Listen to some of the best.

Things look a little different for music at ArtPrize this year. St. Cecilia Music Center has served as the home for music at ArtPrize in the past, but they are taking a one-year hiatus to undergo renovations.

The Blue Bridge is the center for live music at ArtPrize Eight.

The Blue Bridge Music Festival takes place on September 30 and October 1 with live performances from ArtPrize artists. ArtPrize musicians who are connected with The Blue Bridge Venue will be competing for $10,000 in prizes decided equally by the public and jury. Ten $1,000 prizes will be awarded, two in each category: Rock/Blues, Classical, Jazz, Folk/Country, and Pop/Electronica.

The Blue Bridge Music Festival lineup:

Friday, September 30

  • 2:30PM - Grand Rapids Symphony Ensemble
  • 4PM - Edye Evans Hyde Jazz
  • 6PM - Heaters
  • 8:30PM - Go Rounds

Saturday, October 1

  • Noon - Grand Rapids Symphony Ensemble
  • 2:30PM - Kari Lynch Band
  • 4:30PM - JRob & Friends
  • 7PM - Mark Lavengood Bluegrass Bonanza
  • 8:45PM - Flint Eastwood

The Blue Bridge Sessions will bring more music to ArtPrize. The sessions are a series of 30-minute busking performances which will take place throughout ArtPrize, except for during the music festival on September 30 and October 1.

14 must-hear music entries at ArtPrize Eight:

The Accidentals

  • Possibly the hottest "local" band in West Michigan right now. This Traverse City-based trio has a huge following in Michigan and that following is quickly growing across the country thanks to performances at SXSW and others. Their song "Michigan And Again" has over 180,000 views on YouTube.

Ritsu Katsumata

  • This is Katsumata's fifth time at ArtPrize. Her shows always draw a crowd and her performance last year at Kendall College next to Julie Green's "The Last Supper" was one of my favorite ArtPrize moments ever.
  • Ritsu Katsumata will perform with aerial butoh dancer Rachel Finan on the Blue Bridge on Saturday, September 24 at 7PM.

Mia Green

  • Mia is an 18-year-old singer/songwriter from Troy, Mich. Her songwriting and unique vocals stand out. She lists Ed Sheeran and Gabrielle Aplin among her influences.
  • Mia Green will perform on the Blue Bridge on Sunday, September 25 at 9PM and Sunday, October 2 at 7PM.

Flint Eastwood

  • Detroit-based artist Jax Anderson has pleased critics and fan nationwide for her work as Flint Eastwood. She performed at 2015's SXSW festival in Austin, TX.
  • Flint Eastwood will perform on the Blue Bridge at 8:45PM on Saturday, October 1.


  • A popular Grand Rapids progressive rock group from the 70s has reunited.


Matthew Fisher

  • Talented and Grand Rapids-based composer who has created scores for films, video games, Florida State University ads, the life-size Noah's Ark exhibit and more.

Jamie Dionne

  • Polished Grand Rapids-based vocalist making her ArtPrize debut.

Jim Searls

  • Relatable and heartfelt lyrics from this retiree who enjoys performing as a hobby.

Kari Lynch

  • Lynch is a country singer and a GVSU grad. She recorded her latest album in Nashville and has opened for some of country music's biggest names including: The Band Perry, Dierks Bentley, Little Big Town, Miranda Lambert, The Charlie Daniels Band, Thomas Rhett and Alabama.
  • Will perform at the Blue Bridge at 2:30PM on Saturday, October 1.

Bello Spark

  • Started as a duo in 2011 before adding three members later. Combines influences from multiple genres. Has toured the Midwest and released their second album earlier this year.
  • Bello Spark will perform three times at the Harris Building during ArtPrize:
  • Thursday, September 22, 6PM - 8PM
  • Saturday, September 24, 4PM - 6PM
  • Thursday, September 29, 6PM - 8PM

In Tall Buildings

  • Chicago-based singer-songwriter Erik Hall. His album "Driver" was released last year and received positive reviews from the Chicago Tribune, SPIN, Paste, and the Wall Street Journal.

Mark Lavengood

  • Lavengood is a bluegrass artist. He wrote "Brenda Lee" for his mother who grew up in Comstock Park, Mich.
  • See Mark Lavengood perform on Saturday, October 1 at 7PM on the Blue Bridge.

Brett Mitchell

  • This is Mitchell's tribute to Saginaw. The music, lyrics, acoustic guitar, drums and vocals are all done by Mitchell.
  • Brett Mitchell will perform at the Blue Bridge on Sunday, October 2 at 5PM.