Editors note: Columnist Rich Tupica reflects on last weeks Common Ground Music Festival in downtown Lansing.

Each year, Common Ground Festival brings loud and live music to downtown Lansing for seven solid days and nights.

Aside from bringing in huge names like Alice Cooper, Ludacris, Bret Michaels, Sammy Hagar, Jimmy Cliff, Buckcherry and Adam Lambert, the festival also serves as a nice place to mingle with friends and family — not a typical rock show.

Walking the roped paths at the 11th Annual Common Ground Festival you can see a broad range of music lovers. Attendees vary from retired folks in lawn chairs to high school students screaming at the front of the stage. Not many events in Lansing do that.

While Old Town and East Lansing host excellent festivals each year, those events are generally marketing toward a particular group of people (i.e. blues, funk or jazz fans). Common Ground hosts a little something for almost all genres.

It’s exactly what its name says.

This year, depending on the night, the crowds were able to hear ‘80s hair-metal, reggae, FM pop hits, hard rock, or hip hop. The night former "American Idol" star Adam Lambert performed, hordes of school kids were screaming; at Sammy Hagars show, ‘80s rock lovers were yelling “mas tequila!”; and at the Ludacris and Three 6 Mafia show thousands of people knew the all words to each hit single.

It’s nice to see a local festival that attempts to bring people of different musical interests together for an entire week.

year, the festival also booked Lansing rappers SINcere, Ward Skillz,
Big Perm, Yung Rich and .Kom as openers for Ludacris, which is a great
opportunity for up-and-coming musicians. It also shows an important
local connection between the festival and the city.

there is plenty of great live music at Lansing venues all year round,
there is something about the atmosphere of a larger scale festival.

outdoor festival is not the same experience as standing in a dark club
or venue. A festival brings out thousands of people under the summer
sun, and enhances it with live music. Some people dance in the front
row, some prefer to be away from the crowd and sit on the grass all the
way in the back of the Waterfront Park. A bar show cannot offer that.

a nice change of pace for live music in Lansing. And while some may
find it unpleasant, the smell of beer, combined with cigarette smoke
and elephant ears is a curiously pleasing scent to those who enjoy the festival experience.