Common Ground Festival

11 07 2008
  • N. Grand Ave. & Saginaw St.
  • Lansing, MI 48933
  • (517) 267-1502
  • Website

When I moved to Lansing three months ago, everyone kept saying, “You have to go to Common Ground.”  The Thursday night line-up offered three artists I really like, so I got my first taste of what Common Ground is all about.  I have to say, I was impressed.  It was a great atmosphere.  There was a lot to do and the music was fantastic.  I spent most of the night over at the West Main Stage where Julianne Hough, James Otto, and Kellie Pickler were performing.

I became a fan of Hough the same way most guys have.  I actually started watching Dancing With The Stars the year Hough became one of the dancers.  My girlfriend, who wasn’t my girlfriend at the time, loved the show and it gave us something to talk about.  That year, she danced with Apollo Anton Ono who I’ve never been a fan of, but I rooted for them all season long.  She was just fun to watch and had such a great

Stock Image of Julianne Hough

Julianne Hough

personality…plus the skimpy outfits didn’t hurt.  I was more excited the second year when she danced with Helio Castronevas who’s one of my favorite drivers.  They were incredible together and so much fun.  The third season, she was paired with Adam Carolla who I think is funny, but too over-the-top and didn’t take the show seriously enough.  Then, it came out she was recording a country album.  I had my doubts.  How is she qualifed to be a singer?  That Song in My Head  was finally released as her first single.  It didn’t strike me at first as a great song, but it has definitely grown on me to the point that it’s stuck in my head constantly.  I always thought her voice was ok.  That was, until I saw her live.  She blew me away.  Her voice sounded so much better in concert.  She put on a great show and at one point, I found myself singing along knowing full well who sang it and wanting to be “dancing in the bed of a two toned Ford.”   What really impressed me was after the show.  Julianne went to the souvenir tent and signed autographs for at least an hour and a half.  She didn’t just sign autographs, she hugged every person in line as she took pictures and signed their pictures.

I didn’t get to see a whole lot of James Otto because we were running around quite a bit.  I was actually there on some free tickets and a media pass, so I had some work to do to.  I saw about half of Otto’s performance and like Hough, he sounded better live.  The only song I really know of his is Just Got Started Loving Youwhich I like but don’t love.  I heard that one then it was time for me to go backstage and get ready for Kellie Pickler’s performance.  Like Hough, Otto went to the souvenir tent to sign autographs and that line wrapped back around the festival grounds.

Kellie Pickler

Kellie Pickler

For Kellie Pickler, I had a front row seat for the first three songs.  I had to shoot some video and they give us the first thirty seconds of the third song to shoot as much as we can.  Still shooters got the first two songs, so while I was waiting, I was able to turn around and get crowd shots and just enjoy the show from the best seat in the house.  I hate American Idol.  I voted for Sanjaya week after week hoping if he won Fox would cancel the show and I’d never be subjected to that garbage again.  Because she appeared on Idol, it took me a long time to give Kellie Pickler a chance.  Then, I saw her on Fox’s Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader and it made it even harder for me to respect her.  If you don’t know what I’m talking about, I encourage you to watch the following clip.

Is France a country?  Really?!  Then I heard the song Things That Never Cross a Man’s Mind and for some reason loved the song.  It’s real Brad Paisley-esque.  I love that tounge-in-cheek, fun music and that song did it for me.  Luckily for me, that was the second song she played, so I got to hear that one.  The third song was the one I got to shoot, so I actually turned around for the first time to get a look at her.  I didn’t recognize the song, but she actually has a really good stage presence and a great voice.  Even though she plays the dumb blonde, she’s really got her stuff together on stage.  She sounded good and put on a performance that had the cowboy hat, belt buckle wearing crowd singing and dancing along.

I can’t neglect the food since this is a food blog.  I initially entered with a ticket on the Grand Ave. side and when you walk in, there’s a row of food vendors similar to a carnival midway.  They had ice cream, sandwiches, and fair food, but the one that caught my nose immediately was the BBQ stand near the end.  Like I mentioned earlier, I was there on special passes and we had tickets to the Sponsor Tent Oasis which had food and beverages, so we didn’t get much outside.  My girlfriend wanted some ice cream so we stopped for that, but otherwise, I had burgers and chicken in the Sponsor Tent. 

Sunday, we’re going back to see Trace Adkins.  I’m bringing my parents so we’ll just be going to enjoy the show.  We have passes to the Sponsor Tent again, but this time, I am not going to pass up that BBQ.  It’s so hard to find BBQ in Lansing and my mouth is watering already just waiting to get back to Riverfront Park

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