Dan DeWard

Rock the Dam battle of the bands ends with packed finale

August 18, 2011 // 0 Comments

Next new event this Thursday with Pub & Grub Crawl Organizers estimated the crowd for the final night of Rock the Dam battle of the bands to be as much as 700 fans who enjoyed a fine evening of impressive talent. The six-band showdown for winning youth and adult bands was packed with people, dogs (see an upcoming edition of the Squire for that story) and smiles. A nice blend of ages in the crowd proved this event one that draws young and old and made use of the perfect setting of the stage and Garden Club Park. Dan DeWard of Studio D2D came up with the idea, which was readily approved by City Council in spring. As deejay of the event, with winners chosen by a panel of celebrity judges, DeWard said he was thrilled with the turnout over the three-week music series and plans to make the battle of the bands an annual event. The battle began with 26 bands in youth and adult categories, narrowed down to the final three in each group for the finale. The winning band receives cash prizes and $1,000 in professional studio recording time. All bands received professional photos to be used for promotion, free of charge by Studio D2D. DeWard said he planned the event to add to the summer menu offered in Rockford, where a different festival seems to be taking place every weekend. More importantly, he said he wanted to create a venue to offer exposure to our many very talented musicians in the West Michigan area. DeWard, along with other Rockford-area business people, organized a partnership in Rockford Events Planning to provide a range of services to those who have a gathering planned. The group debuts another Rockford event, the Pub & Grub Crawl, this Thursday, August 18. Participants must wear Pub & Grub Crawl t-shirts, at just $5, and receive fantastic discounts at participating businesses. The Crawl begins with a shotgun start at Rockford Lanes, where crawlers can bowl for $1, play games for beads, and enjoy beverage discounts. Around 7:15 the Crawl moves to the Corner Bar, then to Grill One Eleven, and finally wraps up at the Rogue River Tavern. Crawl t-shirts are available at Studio D2D, The Edge Barber […]

Art Capsule bigger, better despite rainy weather

August 11, 2011 // 0 Comments

Jeff Lewis, chair of the Rockford Area Arts Commission (RAAC) and the idea guy who came up with Rockford’s Art Capsule event, said more people voted on the 30 local art displays in 2011 than in the first year. “We had a thousand votes, which was more than last year,” Lewis said. This year’s event, designed with the theme of Rockford for the art submissions, culminated on Saturday, August 8 with voting and sampling fare from Rockford restaurants in the second annual Taste of Rockford. Art Capsule voting also took place all week long with art offered in a variety of categories and venues all around downtown. Ten restaurants took part in the Taste event, with all money going to RAAC. A total of $1,300 was raised. Local restaurants participated by offering samples from spring rolls to sliders and tasty treats to top off the edible tour of downtown. Lewis said the restaurants were very generous, providing quality and quantity of impressive proportions for just a dollar or two per sample. Art Capsule was also a popular success. Best of Show was taken by Connie Kuhnle for her “Faces of Rockford.” Best Two-Dimensional Art went to local painter Linda Bassford, who presented “Watermelon Kids.” Best Three-Dimensional Art was won by Lois Carpenter with “The Dam Fish.” Best Photography was a tie between Dan DeWard with “Dream, Believe, Perform, Achieve” and Stacy Niedzwiecki with her work “Wash – Rinse – Repeat.” “It wasn’t bad for a wet, rainy day,” said Lewis.

Rock the Dam kickoff a rocking hit despite heat

July 28, 2011 // 0 Comments

Studio D2D brings music festival/band concert to downtown by BETH ALTENA “I was really impressed with the youth bands. They seemed to like each other and support each other,” said Dan DeWard of Studio D2D in Rockford, who brings downtown another annual event to anticipate in Rock the Dam battle of the bands. The new event had its first three days of free music in the beautiful setting of Garden Club Park on the banks of the Rogue River on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, July 20-22. Despite breathtaking heat Wednesday and Thursday, the new music event had good turnout and everyone enjoyed the talent and the setting. DeWard said although the event is a contest, the youth performers cheered each other on, applauded and danced during their competitors’ performances. “It felt like a music festival,” DeWard described. DeWard said his panel of four judges took into consideration aspects of the performances of each of the youth portion of the competition, from stage presence, interaction with the crowd and each other, preparedness and organization, among other elements of their performance. A video clip on the Rock the Dam website announces the winners of the youth band for the first session of the battle. DeWard, who is used to organizing weddings and other events as part of his job at Studio D2D, had promised the City of Rockford that the competition would run smoothly and it did. Bands had a tent in which to prepare and solo singers filled the time between performances so the crowd enjoyed a steady stream of musical entertainment. Drawing talent from across West Michigan, nine youth and 18 adult bands from Grand Rapids, Cedar Springs, Greenville, Montcalm County, Kentwood and Lansing have performed (and will perform during upcoming days) a variety of musical styles. DeWard said bands were prescreened for appropriate content, but also for variety. “We wanted to keep it interesting. We didn’t want to be restrictive.” He said styles of rock varied from classic, pop, alternative, country and heavy rock. “We didn’t want anyone to get bored,” he said. The band competition continues August 3, 4 and 5 with music beginning at 5:30 p.m. each of the three days. Each of the upcoming bands are part of the adult division […]

Rock the Dam concert series approved

March 31, 2011 // 0 Comments

Youth, adult battle of the bands to begin in July by BETH ALTENA Rockford City Council unanimously approved a new music event to debut this summer. Dan DeWard of Studio D2D received a warm reception to his idea for a battle of the bands to take place downtown Rockford beginning in July. Rock the Dam will be a youth and adult band competition with cash prizes culminating in finals on August 11. DeWard said he planned the event to follow the end of the blues concert series and will start the youth competition at Garden Club Park at the dam. The youth and adult finals will likely take place at North Rockford Middle School, the soccer stadium, or possibly the high school, where larger crowds can be accommodated. DeWard said he believes the series will be a nice addition to downtown events and he is working with the Rockford Area Arts Commission (RAAC) and local businesses on the project. “I want to emphasize this will not be a free-for-all,” DeWard told council during the regular meeting on Monday, March 14. He said he is experienced at event planning, and the resources of his studio dovetail perfectly with the event. RAAC volunteers will help with the organization. DeWard said he plans to limit the competition to 12 youth and 12 adult bands, and screen them prior to acceptance to make sure they are appropriate for a family audience. Sales of t-shirts in several styles, along with sponsorship of local businesses, will generate money to offer as prizes. Studio D2D will provide deejays, sound equipment and the photo booth free of charge just to add to the overall fun of the series. Each night, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, July 20-22, four youth bands, ages 18 and under, will perform from 5:30 to 9 p.m. Each night, Wednesday through Friday, August 3-5, four adult bands, ages 19 and over, will perform from 5:30 to 9 p.m. The top three bands per category will advance to the finals. All six finalists will perform Thursday, August 11 in the evening. Prize money will go to the top bands in each category. The public will even have their chance to vote for their favorite bands from video footage uploaded to Facebook […]

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