July 1 2009 12:00 AM

What’s new at this year’s Common Ground

In celebration of a milestone, Common Ground organizers have made an effort to revitalize the annual festival with jolts of new music and an expansion from Riverfront Park into downtown Lansing. “This is our 10th anniversary, so we’re thinking, ‘How do we blow the doors off of it this year?’” said Amanda Snook, the festival’s marketing manager.

Here is what they came up with:

Fest gets electronic

A new addition to the roster is the appearance of local DJs spinning various forms of dance and electronic music. “We’re bringing in a couple DJs each night,” Snook said. “We thought, ‘How can we spin this around and bring something completely new to the festival?’ It’s going to be a unique twist.”

DJs will perform in the KRUSH Decade Dome (located near the Saginaw/Grand Street entrance) from 5:30 p.m. to midnight, Snook said. “Usually the music is done around 11 to 11:30,” she said. “We are extending the Decade Dome to serve as a post-party area, if you will.”

Some of the DJs set to perform are DJ Crazy Cas, DJ Skitzo, DJ Rob Perry and DJ Katalist.

Stage moves downtown

In hopes of giving Common Ground a “street festival vibe,” the Pearl Vision stage has been relocated closer to the heart of downtown Lansing. The entrance will be at Washington Avenue at Ionia Street. “The part that [used to be] east of the river is now downtown, just south of LCC,” Snook said. “The west side of the river has stayed the same. It’s where it’s always been, at Grand and Saginaw.”

VIP in the club

“You can bring your chair and blanket to enjoy the festival vibe that way, but there are some people who want to live like a high roller in the VIP,” Snook said.

For the first time, UnCommon Club (VIP) passes are accessible to the general public and available for purchase not only for the entire week ($350), but also in single-day increments for $125. Members have access to private areas near both main stages, table and chair seating, complimentary hors d’oeuvres (between 5:30 pm & 7:30 pm), reduced drink prices, wait staff service, exclusive restrooms, their own festival entrance and preferred parking.

Saturday night birthday bash

In celebration of its 10 years in existence, ticket prices for Saturday, July 11, are dropped to $10 (compared to the usual $26 per day price tag). This ticket buys all Saturday performances on all stages and access to a $1 food menu and $2 beers. Performers that night include Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes (Springsteenesque rock), The BoDeans (roots rock) and Trailer Choir (contemporary country).

Where to park your ride

Even with the moving of a stage, Snook said parking will not change. Free parking will be available at city of Lansing lots A, B, C, F and G with the purchase of a Common Ground ticket.

For more information, visit: www.commongroundfest.com