What live music brings to the Lansing area

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How it started

house

Fusion Shows and Meridian Entertainment Group’s Offices. Located at 901 North Washington Street, Lansing, MICH.

When people think of live music in Michigan they used to think of places such as Detroit or Ann Arbor until Fusion Shows begun in 2008.

Nate Dorough and Irving Ronk, two young men helped to put Lansing on the map for entertainment by beginning a music booking company right here in Lansing MICH.

Ronk growing up in East Lansing slowly became the go to guy for shows in East Lansing and surrounding areas.  With a Music Business and Entertainment degree from Full Sail University, he knew that he wanted to manage and book live music.

Dorough, a co-owner, had never even attended a live show until college, according to his blog.  After putting on “Baker Rocks”, live shows put on at Baker College in Owosso, he decided it may be something he is good at.

“I could make a mean spreadsheet, understood the internet, could email people and be polite, and I sent the bands I worked with to some terrible shows, and to some good ones,” Dorough said.

The two men working for different companies met when working on some shows together.  After realizing their skills meshed well together they decided to start their own thing.

“Twice the bargaining power, and “half the work” was the thought.  We “fused” the two companies together, to form Fusion Shows,” said Dorough. “Music brings us together,” soon became to slogan for Fusion Shows.

Once partners, Fusion Shows began by sitting down and getting Mac’s Bar onto the same page.  They began booking shows at Mac’s and worked hard for their company to slowly develop, according to Ronk.

Fusion Shows remains a small working business.  There are only four or five full time employees.

There office is shared with Meridian Entertainment Group and is only the size of a small house, located at 901 North Washington.

 

Talent

Scott Bell, the talent buyer for Fusion, brings his experience and passion to Fusion shows with helping to book and manage for bands within the company.

“When starting, you look for bands you want to promote,” said Bell.

Fusion works with all genres of music.  So there is something for everyone.  Capital City Film Fest, which was April 10-13, showcased all different types of music put on by Fusion.

“We had from The Hard Lessons and Flint Eastwood, so you have your indie, pop darling stuff.  Dan Croll’s singer songwriter stuff.  UV Hippo super jam grateful dead worshipy stuff. All the way to Break Science and Jucifer a power duo with amps built to the ceiling, the only thing I will wear ear plugs to.   Then two nights ago we had Jana Kramer,” said Bell.

Bands also are booked and managed by the guys of Fusion Shows.  Joe Hertler and The Rainbow Seekers is managed by Ronk and plays almost every weekend for Fusion shows.

Fusion focuses a lot on local and upcoming talent. One example is The Fever Haze a band out of Holland, MICH has been booked a few times by Fusion over the past year, according to Kalmink.

Bands respect Fusion and likes working with them which allows for their business to grow.

“A big thank you for all of the help, and it’s been a real pleasure working with them. It’s always very professional,” said Kalmink.

 

Festivals

“Festivals are a lot of work that not necessarily give that big of an award.  Lollapalooza has a large following for obvious reasons, but starting one is a lot of work,” said Ronk.

 BLED FEST is Fusion Shows own baby according to Ronk.  It is held at Hartland Performing Arts Center, May 24th.

Local bands, along with others are featured at BLED FEST. The Fever Haze is one of those local bands.

BLED stands for “Big Love’s EDucational Festival. Big Love is the nickname of Ben who started this whole thing in his parent’s basement 10 years ago,” according to the festivals official website.

 Common Ground Music Festival is the other festival Fusion Shows works with.

They are hired by Meridian Entertainment group to help and produce shows.  Sharing an office with them makes it easy to work with them, according to Ronk.

Common Ground is a year long project and will take place July 8th through the 13th at Adado Riverfront Park.

Some of the headliners are 311Say AnythingJustin MooreBrand NewCirca Survive, and many more!

 

Benefits

“The area benefits because we care about this area.” Bell said.  “Most of us are from this area and we genuinely care to see it succeed.”

Fusion shows is based out of Lansing and continues to work out of Lansing.  It is truly something working to improve the city and bring people together.

“It helps the venues gain income and it brings the community together to enjoy great music,” Michelle Feghali an intern at Fusion Shows said.

“It really brings people together. A good majority of the best friends I have are in this scene, and I met them through playing and going to shows,” Jake Kalmink, The lead singer and guitarist for The Fever Haze.

Without Fusion Shows music would still occur in Lansing.  Businesses such as Meridian Entertainment Group would still put on shows.  Although, it brings more of an alternative and younger scene.

“They allow for some great shows, at some great venues, at a very comfortable setting, and for a good value,”  Said Meyer.

“I think it makes Lansing cooler.  Just the fact that there is relevant music, national acts coming to town,” said Ronk.  “It also helps cultivate a local music scene, and continues to make that grow. Lansing I think has taken some of that share from Detroit, of cool Michigan bands who are really making noise.”

 

Future of Fusion Shows

The largest thing Fusion Shows sees in their future it growth.

According to Ronk they began as “just the kids who would book shows at Mac’s.”  They are now gaining respect and are looked at more highly.

There is always a need for growth in the industry, as music is always evolving.  With many different types of people to reach out to, there is always room for improvement and learning.

Meyer said, “We hope to see growth in our demographic.  We are becoming more wildly known!  We just hope to keep putting on great live shows.”

“The demographic that we work is very technologically advanced, plugged into social networking and the newest gadgets.  We have to be able to adapt,” said Dorough.

Venues such as The Lansing Center and Kalamazoo State Theater have reached out with desire to Fusion Shows book bands to come to their business, according to Ronk.  With this growth they have more possibilities and can reach more people.

 

People

Irving Ronk
Co-Owner and Marketing

irving pic

Email: irving@fusionshows.com

 

 

Nate Dorough 
Co-Owner

nate photo

Email: nate@fusionshows.com
Blog: http://natedorough.tumblr.com/post/80611133614/so-over-the-past-few-months-because-im-very-much
Twitter: @natedorough

 

 

Evan Meyers 
Production Manager

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Email: fusionshowsproduction@gmail.com

 

 

Connor Larowe 
Promotions Director/ Marketing Assistant

connor

Email: connor@fusionshows.com
Twitter: @connorlarowe
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/connorlarowe?fref=ts

 

 

Scotty Bell
Talent Buyer/ Band Manager

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Email: scott@fusionshows.com
Twitter: @skottybell

 

 

Michelle Feghali 
Intern

michelle

Email: fusionintern4@gmail.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/michellefeghali?fref=ts
Twitter: @michfeghali 

 

 

Kevin Meyer 
Principal of Meridian Entertainment Group and Common Ground Festival Director

Email: Kmeyer@meridianconcerts.com
Phone: 517.267.1502 ext. 201

 

 

Jake Kalmink
Singer/ Lead Guitar of The Fever Haze

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Email: jakekalmink@gmail.com

 

 

Nicholas Richardson
Musician in Fever Haze

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Email:
Website: http://www.thefeverhaze.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thefeverhaze (band)
https://www.facebook.com/nrichardson?fref=ts (personal)
Twitter: @thefeverhaze (band)
@nickthefever (personal)

 

 

Joe Hertler
Musician in Joe Hertler & The Rainbow Seekers

joe

Email: joehertler@gmail.com
Website: http://joehertler.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/joehertlermusic
Twitter: @joehertler

 

**Photos from Facebook.  Permission was granted to use.**

 

Venues

 

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Interactive map go to: http://bit.ly/RoXAv3

Adado Riverfront Park

534 N. Grand River Ave
Lansing, Michigan 48933

Phone: (517) 483-4277
Website: http://www.michigan.org/property/adado-riverfront-park-river-trail-system/

Located in Downtown Lansing is a large park that holds festivals. One that Fusion Shows and Meridian Entertainment work with is Common Ground Festival which takes place at Adado Park. Both the Grand River and Red Cedar rivers can be accessed from this park. Other venues reachable from Adado is Potter Park Zoo, Turner-Dodge house and others.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Riverfront-Park/145418135497872?ref=br_tf&rf=208539962626995 
Common Ground Festival Website: http://www.commongroundfest.com/

 

 

Club Rush

131 Albert Ave
East Lansing, Michigan 48823

Phone: (517) 333-4040
Website: http://harpersbrewpub.com/clubrush.php

Club Rush is located in East Lansing below Harpers Brewpub. It is a fishbowl shaped venue with a stage dance floor, tables and bar.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Club-Rush/68729839545
Twitter: https://twitter.com/HarpersMSU

 

 

Fischer Hall

613 S Main St
Frankenmuth, Michigan 48734

Phone: (989) 652-9701
Website: http://www.frankenmuthmuseum.org/

Fischer hall is an event venue connected to a gift shop and museum in Frankenmuth. Built in 1905 it holds everything from Zumba classes, to business meetings, to Concerts. Fusion Shows rents out Fischer hall around five to six times a year, according to Ammiee Kotch the Administrative Assistant at the Frankenmuth Historical Society.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Fischer-Hall/180051268698076

 

 

Hartland Performing Arts Center

9525 E Highland Rd
Howell, Michigan 48843

Phone: (810) 626-2150
Website: http://hartland.registryinsight.com/

The Hartland Performing Arts Center was built to satisfy the community allowing to hold various types of recitals, plays, and other events. It was built in 1990 and also has a large lobby area which can be used for an exhibit. It is ran by the Hartland Community Education and they strive to bring the community citizen involvement and cultural experiences, according to Hartland Performing Arts Centers website.

 

 

Mac’s Bar                                                      

2700 E Michigan Avemacs bar 1
Lansing, Michigan 48912

Phone: (517) 484-6795
Website: http://www.macsbar.com/

Mac’s Bar is a local dive bar located right between Michigan State Universities campus and Downtown Lansing. Shows began to be booked at Mac’s in 1995 when Kenny Knot a regular and the founder of ETCH magazine took over and booked shows for Clare Mackenzie, the owner. The venue now has shows of all genres and is well known for the energy and grime of their shows, according to Chuck Mannino on their official website. It is also the first venue used by Fusion Shows!

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MacsLansing 
Twitter: https://twitter.com/MacsBar

 

 

Michigan Theatre of Jackson

124 N Mechanic St
Jackson, Michigan 49201

Phone: (517) 783-0962
Website: http://www.michigantheatre.org/

According to their website, The Michigan Theatre of Jackson is a historical Theatre located in Downtown Jackson. It opened in 1930 and can often be remembered as people attending penny costing shows. In 1993 the Michigan Theatre of Jackson Inc., a non- profit organization bought the theatre and allowed for many events including concerts to occur there.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/michigantheatreofjackson 
Twitter: https://twitter.com/TheMichigan

 

 

The Blind Pig

208 S 1st St
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48104

Phone: (734) 996-8555
Website: http://www.blindpigmusic.com/

The Blind Pig started in 1971 and has been a large player in bringing live music to Michigan for around 30 years. According to their website, “They named it “Blind Pig” after a Detroit slang term for police officers that had been bribed by speakeasy proprietors during the prohibition era of the 1920s.” Beginning as a Blues and Jazz bar they evolved to a more college alternative type venue. It has also been televised on MTV for an interview with Nirvana.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BlindPigAnnArbor
Twitter: https://twitter.com/BlindPigAA

 

 

The Clearing

1800 Corunna Ave
Middletown, Michigan 48867

 

 

The Crofoot

1 S Saginaw St
Pontiac, Michigan 48342

Phone: (248) 858-9333
Website: http://www.thecrofoot.com/

The Crofoot in Pontiac is a multi-roomed venue holding shows in each room. There is The Crofoot Ballroom, The Pike Room, The  Vernors Room, along with The Crofoot Cafe. The Crofoot Ballroom is their largest space and is often used for concerts and other events such as weddings and banquets.   The Pike Room is the second floor room and is for smaller events and concerts. The Vernors room is an even smaller space accommodating 75 guests as is The Crofoot Cafe.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thecrofoot
Twitter: https://twitter.com/TheCrofoot

 

 

The Loft

414 E Michigan Ave
Lansing, Michigan 48933

Phone: (517) 913-0103
Website: http://theloftlansing.com/

The Loft in downtown lansing is located across from the Cooley Law School stadium. It is a 400 person venue that has been around since april of 2010. They are committed to live music and put on shows of all sizes and types.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/theloftlansing 
Twitter: https://twitter.com/TheLoftLansing

 

 

The Masonic Temple

500 Temple St
Detroit, Michigan 48201

Phone: (313) 832-7100
Website: http://themasonic.com/index.php

The Masonic Temple of Detroit is a multifunction facility with 3 theaters, a cafeteria, bowling lanes, and much more. It was built between the years of 1920-1926 and is the largest building of its kind in the world still standing, according to their website.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Detroit-Masonic-Temple/116413794790 
Twitter: https://twitter.com/DetroitMasonic

 

 

The Pyramid Scheme

68 Commerce Avenue Southwest
Grand Rapids, Michigan 49503
 
 Phone: (616) 272-3758
The Pyramid Scheme is a local bar and Music venue. Shows of all multitudes and genres have taken stage at The Pyramid Scheme and is a place for not only larger bands, but for local artists to get out there in Grand Rapids.

 

 

Wild Bull/ District Square

208 S 1st St
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48104

Phone: (734) 996-8555
Website: http://wildbull.co/

The Blind Pig started in 1971 and has been a large player in bringing live music to Michigan for around 30 years. According to their website, “They named it “Blind Pig” after a Detroit slang term for police officers that had been bribed by speakeasy proprietors during the prohibition era of the 1920s.” Beginning as a Blues and Jazz bar they evolved to a more college alternative type venue. It has also been televised on MTV for an interview with Nirvana.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WildBullKzoo
Twitter: https://twitter.com/WildBullKzoo

 

 

 

Social Media

Fusion Shows

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/fusionshows

Twitter: @fusionshows

Website: http://fusionshows.com/

Blog: musicbringsustogether.net

Youtube: youtube.com/user/fusionshows

 

Meridian Entertainment

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MeridianEntertainmentGroup

Twitter: @merdianconcert 

Website: http://meridianconcerts.com/

 

Common Ground Music Festival

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CommonGroundMusicFest

Twitter: @CGmusicfest

Website: http://www.commongroundfest.com/

 

Bled Fest  

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/bledfest

Twitter: @bledfest

Website: http://bledfest.tumblr.com/

 

 

 

 Full Interviews

Here is the full interview with Fusion Shows owner Irving Ronk. There are slight pauses due to eating lunch during the interview.
Click here to hear Irving Ronk’s full interview

 

Full Interview with Scotty Bell the talent buyer for Fusion Shows.
Click here to hear Scotty Bell’s full interview

 

Full Interview with Kevin Meyer Principal of Meridian Entertainment Group and Festival Director for Common Ground Festival. 
Click here to hear Kevin Meyer’s full interview

 

Full Interview with Connor LaRowe the promotions director and marketing assistant for Fusion Shows.
Click here to view Connor LaRowe’s full interview

Full Interview with Evan Meyers  Production manager for Fusion Shows.
Click here to view Evan Meyers full interview

 

 Why I chose to write about this

I am what you would call a music enthusiast.  The music and the entertainment industry is my passion and something that I hope to continue to work with throughout my life and career.  Music is not only soemthing that you can listen to, but it is a lifestyle, a movement, and almost part of ones soul.  The amount of art and expression through music and entertainment is endless.  Fusion shows was created by two guys who felt this passion and wanted to bring this form of art to the Lansing area.  They impacted this area largely in the entertainment industry and put Lansing on the map.  Why not take the time to look back at what positive things they are doing for our community in a way that not every person may notice as they would a government official creating a new law, or new pavement for the roads.

Website: http://fusionshowsjrn300.wordpress.com/

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