April 19 2017 03:33 PM

StoopFest brings live music, comedy to Lansing living rooms

Pulling up your favorite artists on YouTube might seem like the best way see them in your living room, but StoopFest founders Dom Korzecke and James Radick and a small army of volunteers are changing that. The multi-site festival turns local homes into intimate music venues for one afternoon.

“There are multiple houses that function like stages, and you walk between them,” Korzecke said.

Now in its second year, StoopFest offers a packed slate of music and comedy presented across seven venues. The festival is inspired by Grand Rapids’ Lamp Light Music Festival, which has a similar format.

“They have performances going on through houses, all on the same block,” Korzecke said. “They only do three houses, though, and they kind of focus on one genre. I took that model and wanted to blow it up.”

Last year’s inaugural event had six house venues. This year’s festival offers shows in fives homes, each with a nickname, as well as the Lansing Bike Co-Op and the Avenue Café. Each home will have a unique flavor — in some cases literally. “We’re gonna have the living room and move all the couches so that’s all open, and then we’ll take all the living room and dining room tables and have a taco bar,” said Alex Grein, one of the hosts. “We’ll probably have the bands set up in the backyard.”

Grein’s house is nicknamed the Squirrel Trap.

“We have a family of squirrels living in our attic, and I’m constantly trying to catch them,” Grein explained.

A first-time host, Grein said he isn’t worried about having potentially hundreds of people visiting his home.

“Between me and my roommates, we have a ton of energy and are constantly coming up with things to do for Stoop- Fest,” said Grein, who is a graduate student at Michigan State University. “This is a fun way to end the school year for me.”

Korzecke said this year’s festival will feature nearly 80 performers. But getting from venue to venue won’t be overwhelming.

“They’re scattered throughout the East Side Neighborhood, with the Avenue kind of acting as the central home base. They’re all close to equidistant from the Avenue,” Korzecke said. “The longest distance between any two venues is a half mile. It’s not bad at all, and we also encourage people to bike.”

The ultimate goal of the fledgling festival, Korzecke said, is creating community within Lansing’s diverse music scene.

“I’ve been kind of involved in the Lansing music scene since I was in high school,” Korzecke said. “I’m always looking for new and cool experiences to bring together everyone in the scene.”

Even with this year’s lineup set and venues ready to go, Korzecke said he won’t relax until this festival is in the books.

“Going into the second year of a festival, that’s the year that you’re most likely to fail.” Korzecke said. “You basically have to prove to people that you have what it takes to stick around and that you’re going to continue to provide a cool experience.”

If all goes well, he hopes to work on becoming a mainstay in the Lansing scene.

“It would be cool to see the festival get bigger and to incorporate more things,” Korzecke said. “The short-term goal is to make sure that we can sustain it.”

Noon-2 a.m.
Saturday, April 22 $17
See website for venues