The Hamtramck Labor Day Festival began in 1980, to chase away the blues associated with the closing of Dodge Main, the factory that employed the majority of the town's citizens. These days, the bars and halls that used to be populated by working-class boozers have become lively music venues, and this fest features many of the mainstays of Hamtown's stages over the years.
The Bill Bondsmen
Hardcore acolytes the Bondsmen keep the punk rock flame burning red hot with Hamtramck's own Tony Bevaque leading the assault. 3:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 30, north stage.
Eastside Elvis & the Motor City Mafia
A guy dressed up like Elvis leading a band in renditions of songs by the King — and the Misfits, for good measure? It works. 5 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 30, south stage.
Eric Villa & the Vista Marias
Hamtramckan Eric Villa is a fan of everything from punk to classic soul, and it shows through in his alcohol-fueled performances. 6 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 30, south stage.
The Polish Muslims
What started as a little gag has become both a long-running joke and a prophecy of sorts. See if you don't crack a smile when the Polish Muslims perform their deranged versions of the classics, such as "The Sounds of Polka" or "Bowling U.S.A." Sets at 7, 8, and 9 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 30, south stage.
Troy Gregory's musical genius is well-known in these parts, and a chance to see him play with his band the Witches shouldn't be missed. 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 30, north stage.
A hard-rocking band with a penchant for spectacle, Hamtramck's Potions seem to be forever doing their "final" "farewell" show, but that's a good thing. 3:30 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 31, north stage.
Mike Hurtt & his Haunted Hearts
Hurtt is something of an expert on country and classic rock, and enjoys doing the classics of his adopted hometown, such as Ray Taylor's "Hamtramck Baby." 5 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 31.
Jimmy Ohio & the Ultimate Lovers
In a bit of upbeat news for the state, Jimmy Ohio is back in town after a few years away in New York. Here's a chance to welcome him back. 4:30 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 31, north stage.
Coffey is the long-unheralded session man you've heard a million times on Motown releases. Prepare to have your mind blown when you realize all those guitar licks belong to this man. Sets at 6 and 7 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 31, south stage.
A Detroit institution since the late 1980s, the band remains a vehicle for geniuses like Matt Smith and Jeff Oakes to continually reinvent the music they love. 5:30 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 31, north stage.
Fresh off his tour with Mexican Knives, John Salvage's new project shows what a talented fellow from Ohio can do. 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 31, north stage.
Classic soul man Davis will belt out the classics that made him a minor star back in the day, and have made him a rediscovered luminary in his hometown. 8 and 9 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 31, south stage.
Our girl Breezee is an outlier, sure, a white chick spitting hip-hop verse, but you belittle her talents at your own peril. 5 p.m. Monday, Sept. 1, south stage.
Flint's Tunde Olaniran tackles some heady issues with his music, but that doesn't mean he isn't having the time of his life doing it. 6 p.m. Monday, Sept. 1, south stage.
Another group featuring member-of-many-bands Zach Weedon (Lee Marvin Computer Arm), this outfit spins a dark sort of soul that, given voice in the lyrics sung by Ruth Synowiec, is cool and compelling. 7:30 Monday, Sept. 1, north stage. — mt
See hamtownfest.com/schedule.html for more information.
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