Eleven years ago, the Battle Creek Metropolitan Area Moustache Society (BCMAMS) decided to start an outdoor music festival that would take advantage of some incredible recourses in the area.  The first is the Leila Arboretum, a 72-acre paradise just west of downtown Battle Creek.  The other resource is a great variety of talented musicians and entertainers.   It all comes together this week, July 29-31, 2021 with the 11th Annual Leilapalooza Music Festival.

Organizer J.J. Ramon, a member of BCMAMS, said “We started out in our first year with 22 music acts and expanded to include about 66 acts in 2016.   We trimmed it down a little bit over the last couple of years, and of course last year we weren't able to have the event.  This year we're back up to about 22 plus acts or probably closer to 30.”

ames McGee, Brett Myers, J.J. Ramon-Leilapalooza 2021-TSM Photo by Tim Collins
James McGee, Brett Myers, J.J. Ramon-Leilapalooza 2021-TSM Photo by Tim Collins

Ramon said BCMAMS sort of took over where the Battle Creek Jaycees Service club left off.  “We like to hold events in Battle Creek and just have fun things for people to do and collaborate with other nonprofit organizations and individuals.”

In the past, Leilapalooza has been a 1-day festival.  This year, the uncertainty of the COVID-19 Pandemic led the organizers to spread it out.

“At the time we planned it, there were restrictions on how many people per acre could attend,” said BCMAMS member and Leila Arboretum Director Brett Myers.  “We thought if we spaced it out to three days, everybody could attend and we wouldn’t have to turn anybody away.

Leilapalooza Music Fest Logo
Leilapalooza Music Fest Logo
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Where did the name “Leilapalooza” come from?  Was beer involved?

Myers says there may well have been beer involved, as members of BCMAMS sat down to brainstorm the idea years ago.  “There were other clever names tossed around, but somebody on social media suggested the name and Leilapalooza just stuck.”

Friday night is going to be very different and will feature performers from the Battle Creek record label Blvcksheep.  James McGee, an organizer, and member of BCMAMS is the label’s co-founder and a freestyle artist and performer.   He said the night will have sort of a club feel.  ”It’ll have a club-outside-type-vibe, so I want to think about it like an event with acts instead of acts at an event. There are no set times. If you've looked at festival lineups before, you'll see that they do it like that.  Sometimes you kind of just show up and you catch people on the fly. There will be dancing and new types of genres of music that you probably haven't heard.

Ramon said the event is free, but they do have a $10 on-site parking fee.   He said that offsets some rental costs, and helps with the upkeep and the impact that the event has on the Arboretum. 

Myers said they won’t be able to allow food or coolers to be brought in.
“We will have food trucks coming in though. There'll be great wood-fired pizzas, pulled pork, Philly cheesesteaks and we’ll have a vegetarian vendor and a whole bunch of arts and crafts and other vendors on site.

Band Plays at Leilapalooza 2018-BCMAMS Photo
Band Plays at Leilapalooza 2018-BCMAMS Photo
  • Leilapalooza Music Festival 2021
  • Leila Arboretum Battle Creek, MI
  • Thursday, July 29th from 4 pm-10 pm
    Friday, July 30th from 4 pm-12 am (midnight)
    Saturday, July 31st from 11 am-12 am
  • Free Admission, $10 parking
  • Food and beverage vendors

Permitted Items:

  • bags smaller than 16″ x 16″ x 8″ (including soft-sided coolers, backpacks, and diaper bags, bags cannot have a rigid interior or exterior frame)
  • binoculars
  • blankets
  • cameras - still and video
  • drink boxes, if you have children in your party or for medical needs
  • headphones
  • plastic baby bottles if you have a child at your party
  • lawn chairs
  • strollers
  • umbrellas (large golf umbrellas and umbrellas with metal tips are strongly discouraged)

Prohibited Items:

  • tents and pop up canopies
  • aerosol cans (hairspray, mace, pepper spray, etc.)
  • animals (except ADA-certified service animals) Think of the safety of your animal and before bringing them to a loud, crowded concert.
  • bags larger than 16″ x 16″ x 8″
  • beverages of any kind (except juice boxes with children in your party, or for medical needs)
  • bottles (glass or plastic)
  • liquid containers of any kind (glass, metal, paper, styrofoam, plastic, etc.)
  • fireworks, firearms, or other weapons
  • framed backpacks
  • coolers
  • knives (any size)
  • laser devices/pointers
  • markers, paint
  • noise-making devices: air horns, bullhorns, thundersticks, cowbells,
  • bells, horns, kazoos, whistles, and other noisemakers

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