For 20 years Common Ground Music Festival has been a premier music festival in Michigan. For the music lover that listens to every type of music, making that trip to Lansing is a must. This festival caters to every genre and has perfected that craft over the years. Common Ground 2019 was no exception.
On Thursday, June 27th, day one eased us in with folk, funk and rock; ultimately making the perfect blend. Acts like Robert Randolph and the Family Band giving us a really soulful performance and Motherfolk lighting up the stage with their charisma, the day was off to a great start.
Standing out from the early performers were Michigan natives Mike Mains & The Branches. Mixing elements of rock, pop and even electronic at times, they oozed confidence. Sounding radio ready they took the stage and made it their home, shocking everyone in attendance drawing a big crowd from the Auto Value main stage to the Sparrow stage to witness the moment.
The night fully picked up when Canadian singer songwriter Dallas Green AKA City and Colour took the stage. Serenading the main stage with soft harmonies and deep stories; armed with just his guitar. It was him and the audience, somehow making a festival seem like an intimate performance.
Headlining the night was Washington Folk artist Brandi Carlile. Already a veteran to the festival scene, Carlile appeared right at home. Covering at least one track from most of the albums she has released since 06, old and new fans alike had something to be excited about. Telling stories of starting up with Nirvana in Seattle back in the day really drew the crowd in, giving Thursday the perfect sendoff.
Friday, the pop/ hip-hop party started. Wisconsin native Carlie Hanson started the day with a standout performance on the main stage. Interactions with both her band as well as fans are so natural you’d think she was doing this for years, but she’s only 19. In between each song pumping the crowd up Hanson proved she was the perfect fit to open the day on the main stage.
Later in the day saw rapper Playboi Carti explode on to the main stage. One of the best performances of the weekend, carti’s energy, aggression and enthusiasm infected the crowd. Performing snippets of all his biggest songs gave every fan something to be excited about. His set ended with the 2018 hit “Shootas” featuring Lil Uzi Vert. Hearing every person in the audience rap Uzi’s verse word for word was definitely a moment everyone in attendance won’t forget for a long time.
Closing the night out were super Dj’s Zedd and Elephante. Zedd took the stage first with the most theatrical setup of the weekend full with smoke, lasers and pyro. A standout moment was him playing the entire opening to Bohemian Rhapsody with everyone joining in. Elephante graced the Sparrow Stage to close out the night in similar fashion. Rolling in song after song in such a seamless way that the whole set seemed like a party.
Saturday was for the country lovers with the big three Chris Janson, Tracey Lawrence and headliner Cole Swindell. Local groups The Swift Brothers and Rachel Curtis opened the day up beautifully.
The Swift Brothers feeding off each other to open the day made it easy for the audience to ease into the day. Rachel Curtis provided a faster pace and got people dancing in preparation for the three to close the night.
Chris Janson took to the main stage to a packed house. His energy was infectious, starting up the set even pulling out the old harmonica for a couple good solos. With ups and downs in pace Janson finished off on the piano showcasing how much of a musician he really is.
Tracey Lawrence took to the Sparrow Stage next, much to the anticipation of everyone. In the normal Tracey Lawrence fashion he took to the stage with his signature Stetson and acoustic. Serenading the audience with tracks going back all the way to 2007. Even sharing tracks not yet released off of his upcoming project Made in America.
Closing off the night was Georgia native Cole Swindell. Blending up elements of rock with hip hop and country Swindell fit the bill perfectly. Opening with the first song “Love You Too Late,” off his 2018 effort All of It. The air was electric. Performing almost all of the cut in its entirety he ended the set with his new single “Drinkin’ Hours,” which kept Common Ground partying until the end.
Sunday was star studded with legends like Big Boi and 2 Live Crew as well as mega stars like A Boogie wit Da Hoodie and headliner YG. Common Ground went out with a bang to say the least.
Local artist Sway Boi took the main stage with the daunting task of opening the day to that lineup. Being from the same city, he immediately had their attention and he didn’t let it go. Making his “biggest performance of his career,” look like a breeze he played through a few songs before bringing his daughter on stage to perform with him. His stage presence definitely gained him new fans.
Next A Boogie wit Da Hoodie absolutely tore down the main stage running through tracks from his 2018 effort Hoodie SZN. There is something about A boogie that just clicks when he is on stage. His set showed just how in tune he is with his audience.
The legends took over sparrow stage as 2 Live Crew took us back. Running through hit after hit everyone in the audience was having a blast, making the crowd just as much a part of the set as them. The crowd participation was amazing to see.
The ATLien Big Boi was next which was extremely nostalgic for just about everyone in attendance. Performing classic OutKast hits such as “Miss Jackson”, “Elevators,” “Rosa Parks” and “So Fresh So Clean,” everyone including the security guards were enthralled, singing every word.
Finally to close off an amazing 2019, YG was up on the main stage. Starting with a beautiful tribute to his late friend and fellow artist Nipsey Hussle, YG stole the show. A fired up rendition of “Bombpton” caused the place to go wild. YG’s set was the embodiment of a party. He stopped his set halfway through to play “Get Low,” by Lil John to really have a good time with the audience. He closed his set with his smash hit “Big Bank,” telling the audience they better know Detroit native Big Sean’s verse.
Common Ground 2019 proved that with its 20 year history, it has no intentions of slowing down. Giving something to every music fan that is what is so unique about the festival. Vendors offering free haircuts all the way to a tattoo tent the variety of options and experiences common ground provides shows that there is no stopping the annual festival in Lansing Michigan.
2 Live Crew
A Boogie wit Da Hoodie
Mike Mains & The Branches