Celebrating its 36th year, the Hamtramck Labor Day Festival is back to bring Hamtramckans and suburbanites alike a raucous, delicious and entertaining weekend filled with live music, beer, parades, carnival rides and mouth-watering eats. We all know it’s that dreaded time of year, when summer is coming to a close and we can hear the howl of another Michigan winter at our backs; but don’t let that get you down! The Hamtramck Labor Day Festival is in full-swing from Saturday, September 5th, to Monday, September 7th, from 12:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. The festival is a ticketless event and does not require cost for admission, so don’t miss out on this historical occasion celebrating Hamtramck’s history, culture and admirable resilience in the face of adversity.

In honor of the 36th annual Hamtramck Labor Day Festival, we are featuring a handful of bands that are playing across two stages during the three-day weekend! We know that beer and food are some of the most important elements of a successful festival, but music is always the highlight and we can’t wait to submerge ourselves in the Detroit vibes! Get yourself to the South and North Stages for talented acts all weekend long, but for now, here’s a taste to get you through the week:

READ MORE: COVID-19 Vaccines Saved Nearly 20 Million Lives In First Year, Study Says

South Stage

  1. & 2. Bison Machine – “Cosmic Ark” & “Old Moon

(credit: Alyssa Shirkey)

(credit: Alyssa Shirkey)

Heavy and melodic with trancing vocals and powerful hooks is what you’ll get when you witness Bison Machine. This band is all business when it comes to rock and roll with catchy, anthemic guitar riffs and nonstop, all-out drum beats that will have your hair flipping off your scalp (sorry, too heavy?). Residing in the depths of Hamtramck, Bison Machine released their most recent album, Hoarfrost, in January of 2015. This release is easy to get lost in, due to its fuzzy and rhythmic nature. We guarantee you’ll get rocked when you check out these guys this weekend. Bison Machine will be taking the stage at 5:00 p.m. on Saturday, throwing down mad chops for all to see.

3. & 4. Cheerleader – “Quencher” & “I Fell In Love with Norman Bates

Another rocking group for the books is Cheerleader. A major, ear-shredding trio that knows how to make you rage (less dancing and more like angry stomping). You can’t listen to their recent release, Vicious Bitches (recorded live at Groovebox Studios), without feeling like this is their calling. Three women hashing out some intense tracks without a single care for you or just about anything else (we dig that). The lyrics are harsh, feminist and perfectly sarcastic. Vocals are right on point with the dirty and gritty guitar licks that just smash their way through a calamity of drums. It’s a beautiful mess of garage, punk rock that would be perfect for crushing concrete or maybe kicking trashcans (if you’re into that sort of thing). You can slam beers and get super angry with Cheerleader at 5:00 p.m. on Sunday!

5. & 6. Pretty Ghouls – “I Need Love” & “Cool Girls

(credit: Nicole Helegda)

(credit: Nicole Helegda)

Talk about a classic trashy and grungy album — Dead at The Dandy Teen Club is all that and more. Pretty Ghouls released this beauty in June of this year, and we can’t get enough of its high-energy grit. Lawless, messy and sexy vocals scream over fuzzed-up guitar and eccentric drums. Everything about Pretty Ghouls is no-frills, genius-punk. We love the insistent vocals, all trashed-up and tossed in with the chaos of guitar and drums. Each member adds their own style to the tracks, instrumentally and vocally. It’s playful, hardcore and intense. You’ll find Pretty Ghouls shreddin’ it up at 7:00 p.m. on Monday. Don’t you dare miss it.


READ MORE: Michigan Ballot Initiative Aims To Protect Abortion Rights

North Stage

7. & 8. Cosmic Light Shapes – “Can You See In 3-D” & “Far From Home

This experimental band juggles a handful of genres that we could name off the top of our heads: funk, psychedelic folk, rock n’ roll—you get the idea. Their 2014 release, Nebula, is a fun journey across quizzical and intellectual lyrics, a unique collective of guitar solos, steady drums, and bobbing bass lines. The vocals are sustained to give a floating effect that gives an air of spaciness, which balances the hyperness of the tracks. Each member works independently hashing out their own style while still maintaining a cohesive and enjoyable groove. You can find Cosmic Light Shapes on stage at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday.

9. & 10. Growwing Pains – “Talking To A Wall” & “I Feel Something Lets Do Nothing

Coming off of their recent full-length release, 17 Songs About The Same Girl, a fuzzy, garage-rock, masterpiece with a heavy lo-fi personality; Growwing Pains has switched gears and began layering over their previous work with a more relaxed and thoughtful sound. Enter their EP, I Always Know, a matured, older brother of their previous release with just as much punch, but honed in on their talent as lyricists. This new EP is expressive and full, with open and wailing vocals that harness your emotional side, but still allows your punk-rock attitude to show its face. We like this group’s energy and enthusiasm which is so relevant from their talented instrumentation and track compilation. Make sure to get out on Sunday at 7:30 p.m. to see Growwing Pains in action.

BONUS: 11. & 12. The Potions – “Dancin’ On My Grave” & “Drinking Routine

Gritty and smooth rockin’—The Potions have that southern sound that will get you dancing in no time. They’re a fun bunch that really know how to get down to the most beloved rock and roll sound. The Potions 2010 live release at The Lifton in Detroit is a perfect example of their unique drum and bass lines, with poised guitar and grungy vocals that are entertaining and surly. Every track is dynamic and boisterous and has that perfect live sound we all love. They’re holding nothing back with this release and we’re having fun just listening. Wondering what it must be like to see these guys in-person? Well, you don’t have to! Come out on Monday at 3:30 p.m. and you’ll get to experience them yourself!

Want to check out the full line-up for the Hamtramck Labor Day Festival? Click here! Be there or be square!

MORE NEWS: AG Nessel Says Abortions Are Still Legal In Michigan