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Tastes & Tunes of Michigan Featured in Texas Festival

by Madhu Mayer and Lisa Diggs

Every spring film and music enthusiasts from around the world flock to Austin, Texas, for South By Southwest (SXSW).  The gigantic street festival that began in 1987 has become a renown showcase for brands as well as entertainment.  This year it featured some of the best that the Great Lakes State has to offer. 

Dan Newman is among those calling the inaugural Michigan Tastes & Tunes event powered by Showclix at South By Southwest (SXSW) a success.  Newman is owner of AV7 Productions in Michigan, one of the event sponsors.  He provided production support at the popular music festival, and says people were pleased with Michigan's offerings, especially the bands.

"It was a good mix representing different genres of music," said Newman, who transported sound and lighting equipment along with food and drinks to the event. "All the people hung around and enjoyed themselves."

The music lineup included a unified presence of bands from Michigan, such as Greensky Bluegrass from Kalamazoo, Stepdad from Grand Rapids, The Ragbirds from Ann Arbor, Flashclash from Detroit and Garrett Borns from Grand Rapids. Before, during and after the concerts, guests enjoyed complimentary food and drinks featuring Michigan favorites like the delicious hot dogs from Detroit's American Coney Island, Better Made Potato Chips, St. Julian's wine, and McClure's Bloody Mary Bar featuring Valnetine Vodka, which was particularly popular. 

A partnership between Grand Circus Media and The Spencer Management Group presented the diverse and collaborative showcase that shined a spotlight on Michigan artists, flavors, and specialties, at one of the largest music festivals and conferences in the world.  Overall the 2012 SXSW Music Festival featured 2,286 acts, and drew 55,000 fans.

Newman said the showcase that put Michigan on the map at the this year's festival brought awareness to how much the state has to offer.

"When people think of Michigan, their thoughts are it's 'Motor City,''' said Newman. "We are telling people that there is much more to Michigan than cars. Michigan is open for business and we do more than cars."

Michigan Tastes & Tunes was made possible by the generous support of Showclix, Fishbone's, Metro 37 Recording Studio, The Magic Bag, The Majestic Theatre Center, GHS Strings, Metro Times, American Coney Island, AV7 Productions, St. Julian Winery, McClure's Pickles, Better Made Potato Chips, Boxed Water and Ticketsavers.

Organizers say the inaugural event was such a success that it bears repeating in 2013. "We are already talking about doing this next year," Newman said, but there is one thing he would like to change.

Newman, who drove 24 hours from Detroit to Austin transporting the equipment and Michigan products, including eight kegs of beer from Rochester Mills Brewery, said he would like to fly next year.

"I would definitely do it again, but may be I will have someone else drive it."

Companies interested in additional information on Michigan Tastes & Tunes may contact Aimee Spencer of The Spencer Management Group at


Photo Credits: 1) Brittany Ryan ; 2) Extreme Air Shots 3) Merrick Ales; 4) Extreme Air Shot 


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