131 Music Festival is returning to Reed City

Several bands set to take the stage in June

REED CITY — After a successful first year, the 131 Music Festival will return to Reed City this summer.

The festival is scheduled for June 18.

Inspired by the life and music of Jason Hardy, who led the organizing of the first festival prior to his passing of COVID-19 in April 2021, the 131 Music Festival was born out of Hardy’s love of ‘rocking on.’

Hardy died before the inaugural first music festival took to the stage, which left his family to carry on with the plans that year. Quickly, the festival became a memorial.

Eric Schmidt, Hardy’s brother-in-law, said continuing the festival in honor of Jason is a way to honor his memory. 

“[Jason] and I were band members for about 20 years with each other, and we're just continuing his legacy,” Schmidt said. “I want to continue the festival to make it a place to carry on his memory, and that he’s not forgotten. Celebrate the impact that Jason made on so many lives in the area with this music."

"We've only had the one [festival], and last year that was kind of different because it was a benefit for his kids,” he added. “He’d just passed away before the memorial festival, and Jason had had it in the plans. He probably had an 80% thrown together and then he passed away. Well, the question was, 'Do we continue with it? Or do we just give everybody their money back?' Well, we continued with it.” 

The outdoor music festival will take place on a 10-acre plot of land 6 miles north of Reed City, and will showcase local bands from around West Michigan. 

Schmidt said there is a lot of planning left to do before the festival begins. 

“We're probably going to limit the tickets to 1,000, and we might go over that, so we don't quite know yet,” Schmidt said. “Because we have about 1,000 guests plus, we'll have vendors there too. We'll probably expect in about 1400 people minimum, depending on many of the vendors bring with each other. 

It is an outside venue and it's held just north of Rock City,” he added. “We have and the bands come from all over Michigan. Lots of local people, and it's everywhere. Everybody wants to play, so I'm getting bombarded with messages right now from bands.” 

The event’s featured bands still have yet to be chosen, and the festival will feature a range of sounds from performers. 

Schmidt said he personally reviews each band’s submissions. 

“We’ll feature anywhere from country to Christian to rock,” Schmidt said. “It's all genres, we're not giving it just a rock show. We're keeping it all around the spectrum. I have not confirmed any bands yet only because I don't want to hire seven right off the bat to only know that another 15 want to play. I want to go through, listen to them, and see what the best fit is. I don't want any just any garage band. We want people that have been in the [music] scene, have been out and about, and have the experience.” 

The festival will also be raising money for the Jason Hardy Education Scholarship Fund, which will support students going into trades or music. 

“Jason was a union pipefitter, and we want to get the scholarship started to honor that,” Schmidt said. “We don't know the amount yet, but it will be for students going into a trade or for anybody going into music. I think people really look forward to it and help in any way they can. Last year people were very giving, so I know this year they will be too. 

“Everybody wanted us to continue with the festival in his name,” he added. “It was a break from this whole COVID madness, and get people out and about and helping the public again, in a positive way. It brings in people from all over Michigan, there are people that traveled quite a ways to come last year, and I know it brings in other revenue to the city. We’re looking forward to continuing that.”

Schmidt said that bands will be chosen in the coming months and decisions on vendors will continue to be made. Bands or vendors interested in being featured can contact Schmidt directly through the 131 Music Festival Facebook page. 

For more information and updates on the 2022 131 Music Festival, visit its Facebook page at www.facebook.com/131musicfest.