179 bands will play Hamtramck music fest

Coming up on the extended weekend of March 2-5 is the fourth annual Hamtramck Music Festival.

The festival will feature 179 local bands at 22 bars in the city. Shuttle buses will take festival-goers to and from the bars of their choosing.

 “This year will be my second time attending the festival and I’ve had it on my calendar since last year’s,” said Tabatha Sack, a senior nursing student. “I love being able to see local bands while getting a little tour of the city.”

Hamtramck is diverse community, traditionally Polish but more recently home to Muslims from numerous countries.

But the city also has a huge population of local rock bands.

 “I’ve gone all four years and have seen every year progressively get better,” said Edie Swain, a Hamtramck resident. “It is a great way for bands and smaller bars to get more recognition. They post the show schedule early so I can plan what bands I want to go see, at what time and where.”

The music celebration will benefit Ben’s Encore, a charity organization dedicated to Ben Borowiak. 

While he was a freshman at Detroit Mercy, Borowiak was struck by a drunk-driver who was traveling the wrong way on westbound I-696. 

Though he survived the accident, Borowiak’s brain was scarred, which caused him to develop epilepsy. 

In 2011, he suffered a complication due to an epileptic seizure and died.

The Borowiak family decided to start the Ben’s Encore charity to continue his legacy through his two most prominent passions: philanthropy and music, according to the Ben’s Encore website.

All Hamtramck festival proceeds go to Ben’s Encore to provide instruments, music lessons and scholarships to inspire young musicians and help underprivileged schools in Hamtramck and metro-Detroit with their music programs, according to the Hamtramck Music Festival website.

Wristbands are $10 and allow you to attend all the days and nights of live music.

“It has been a privilege to be a part of the annual festival,” said band player Louie Badalament. “We all have so much fun featuring our music while sharing it with the community.”

Not all venues are 21 and over. A few places allow 18 and over, and some allow all ages.

“Hamtramck is so close to Detroit Mercy and I think the event is a great way to support the small city,” said Salina Pinjarkar. “Students should take advantage of this fun opportunity.”