Thursday, November 13, 2014

SMG Director of Marketing Lynne Ike Honored with WGVU Engage I HAVE Made a Difference Award

Lynne IkeSMG Director of Marketing for Van Andel ArenaDeVos Place and DeVos Performance Hall, was awarded yesterday with the 2014 WGVU Engage I HAVE Made a Difference Award as an outstanding individual in the Arts category.

The WGVU Engage I HAVE Made a Difference Awards are awarded to one individual and one non-profit organization that best exemplifies outcomes in the five WGVU Engage areas of focus and overall excellence in support of our community. The categories include Inclusion, Health, Arts, Veterans, Education, People’s Choice, Non-Profit of the Year and Person of the Year, and are judged by a group of panelists representing the WGVU Engage Committee, WGVU Public Media, and the community.

Lynne Ike has been chair of the WGVU Engage Arts Committee for two years, and has strived to create opportunities for young people to experience the arts. She facilitated a trip, complete with boxed lunches, to a Grand Rapids Symphony Pops concert for children from D.A. Blodgett - St. John’s Home, and is currently working to bring children from this organization to a Grand Rapids Symphony Holiday Pops concert. Her efforts also enabled local veterans and their families to attend a Sesame Street Live performance at Van Andel Arena last year.

Lynne is active with the Grand Rapids-Kent County Convention/Arena Authority’s Community Inclusion Group (CIG), which strives to bring diverse entertainment to Van Andel Arena, DeVos Place and DeVos Performance Hall. Her efforts with CIG include working with various West Michigan communities to raise awareness of events and to create a welcoming atmosphere at the venues, as well as at other businesses downtown, including restaurants, bars, nightclubs and other establishments.

Tweet a congratulations message to Lynne: 

Friday, September 12, 2014

John Mellencamp Announces “Plain Spoken” 2015 North American Tour

John Mellencamp announced dates for his upcoming Plain Spoken tour beginning in January 2015 throughout the summer. “The Voice of the Heartland” will play 80 shows including a stop in Grand Rapids at DeVos Performance Hall on Tuesday, June 9 at 7:30 PM. The special guest is Carlene Carter.

Tickets go on sale Friday, September 19th at 10:00AM at the DeVos Place® and Van Andel Arena® box offices, all Ticketmaster ticket centers, online at, and charge by phone at 1-800-745-3000. Ticket prices will be $42, $65, $85, and $119.50. Prices are subject to change and a purchase limit of six tickets will apply. VIP packages will be available online only for $251.50 and include amazing reserved tickets in the first ten rows, limited edition memorabilia and much more!

On September 23rd, Rock & Roll Hall of Famer John Mellencamp will release one of the most distinguished records of his career, Plain Spoken on Republic Records. Plain Spoken includes ten stunningly elegant and soul-searching Americana gems.

Concert goers will receive a digital download of the Plain Spoken record with purchase of tickets to the tour. (One download code per ticket for online and phone purchases only; does not apply to box office or outlet ticket purchases.)

“The music looks back toward … ‘Blood On The Tracks,’ with strummed guitars, brushes on the drums and neck-rack harmonica, and the words ponder trouble, power, love, God, freedom and mortality,” says THE NEW YORK TIMES. Plain Spoken is set to be hailed as an unparalleled new chapter in Mellencamp’s distinctive songbook.

Grammy-winning musician John Mellencamp has touched the heart and souls of music listeners and influenced American Culture with enduring songs. He is also one of the most successful live concert performers in the world. A man with a conscience, he used his visibility and influence to advocate an issue that hit close to home and became one of the founding members of Farm Aid, an organization that began in 1985 to raise awareness about the loss of family farms. The Farm Aid concerts have raised over $45 million to promote a resilient family farm system of agriculture.

In 2014, he also signed a historic "lifetime recording contract" with Republic Records for the release of Plain Spoken and all of his albums to follow. Universal Music Enterprises continues to represent the artist's prominent catalog as well. Mercury/UME recently released his latest live album, John Mellencamp Sings Trouble No More Live at Town Hall, this past summer.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Christian Artist TobyMac to Play DeVos Performance Hall in November

Christian hip-hop/pop artist TobyMac will return to Grand Rapids to play DeVos Performance Hall this fall. The former dc Talk rapper will bring singer/songwriters Matt Maher and special guest Ryan Stevenson with him for the Sunday, November 23, 2014 show that is slated for a 7:00 PM start. 

Tickets will cost $20.50, $25.50, $35.50, $45.50 and will go on sale Friday, July 18, 2014 at 10:00 AM. Tickets will be available at the DeVos Place® and Van Andel Arena® box offices, Ticketmaster ticket centers, online at, or charge by phone at 1-800-745-3000.

From his early days in influential group dc Talk to his very first solo album, Momentum, Toby has worked hard to inspire his audience with words of conviction, hope, empowerment and the redemption found in his faith in God.  He furthers that vision on his latest release, the thrilling Eye On It, produced by Toby, Christopher Stevens, David Garcia and Jamie Moore.

Toby has clearly been taking all the right steps, moving through the often prideful music business with a sense of humility that belies his success. With over 11 million units in career sales, TobyMac continues to take his career to new levels. Eye On It gained him the GRAMMY® Award for Best Contemporary Christian Music Album and the highest chart debut of his solo career landing at No. 1 on the Billboard Top 200 and topping the iTunes® Overall and Christian sales charts. The project made TobyMac one of only four artists to ever debut atop the Billboard Top 200 with a Christian music album.

His previous four solo projects have received RIAA Gold certification. His 2009 album Tonight received GRAMMY® nods for Best Pop/Contemporary Gospel Album and Best Contemporary Christian Song.

In all, TobyMac has received five GRAMMY® awards, two Billboard Music Awards for Top Christian Artist and Top Christian Album, an American Music Award for Favorite Artist in the Contemporary/Inspirational category, Dove Awards for "Artist of the Year," "Pop/Contemporary Album of the Year," "Recorded Music Packaging of the Year," "Short Form Video of the Year," KLOVE Music Awards for “Artist of the Year” and swept the 2013 Australian Music Awards. 

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Special Invitation from Community Inclusion Group

*Keith Sweat on August 2nd has been cancelled. If you purchased tickets at our box office, refunds have been processed automatically. Otherwise, refunds are available at the point of sale.

The Grand Rapids-Kent County Convention/Arena Authority’s (CAA) Community Inclusion Group (CIG) would like to invite you to join our VIP List. By joining our VIP List, you will have information about events and attractions delivered right to your inbox. Simply click here to join and see a full list of events and attractions coming to YOUR community venues. If social media is more your speed, we invite you to connect with us:

Van Andel Arena
DeVosPlace/DeVos Performance Hall




By way of background, the CAA owns and operates the Van Andel Arena®, DeVos Place® and DeVos Performance Hall. The CAA’s mission is to encourage economic development within the West Michigan region, create jobs and provide facilities for the entertainment, enjoyment and/or benefit of the citizens in an economical manner by developing and operating convention, entertainment, and sports facilities within Kent County.

In 2005, CAA Board Chair Steve Heacock established a subcommittee to examine the reach of the CAA’s diversity efforts and to prepare a plan that includes financially viable actions for the CAA to undertake. Today, this group is known as the CIG. The CIG is a committee comprised of local community leaders who help identify and ensure that viable diverse events and programming take place at the venues. With this in mind, we are committed to making sure that you are in the know about events and attractions that come to the CAA’s venues and to the greater downtown area. Please consider joining our e-mail list and feel free to forward the link along to those who may have an interest, including co-workers, friends, family, Greek organizations, congregation members, etc.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Jam Band Royalty Bob Weir & RatDog Making Their Way to Grand Rapids

With a touring history that has made him one of the most traveled road musicians of all time and a restless music personality that has kept him occupied for over 50 years, Weir knows a thing or two about staying fresh and living in the moment. Although best known as one of the founding members of the Grateful Dead, adding Dead staples such as “Truckin’,” “Sugar Magnolia,” and “Cassidy” to the band’s catalog, Weir obtained a long and affluent music career that has allowed him to do what he loves and share it with others for nearly his entire life.

Weir and RatDog will play DeVos Performance Hall on Tuesday, June 10, 2014 at 7:00 PM. All tickets will be $49.50 and will be available at the DeVos Place convention center and Van Andel Arena box offices, Ticketmaster ticket centers, online at, or charge by phone at 1-800-745-3000. Tickets go on sale Friday, April 25, 2014 at noon.

Born in 1947, Weir was adopted by a wealthy California engineer. As a teen, he secured his spot as one of the youngest members of the burgeoning folk scene that centered on a Palo Alto club called the Tangent—home to such future rock legends as Jerry Garcia, Jefferson Airplane guitarist Jorma Kaukonen and Janis Joplin. In 1964, at the age of 17, Weir spent the majority of his time at a Palo Alto music store where Garcia taught guitar lessons. It wasn’t long before Weir and Garcia, along with Ron “Pigpen” McKernan, formed a blues and folk outfit. Originally called Mother McCree’s Uptown Jug Champions, the band was later renamed The Warlocks—adding Phil Lesh and Bill Kreutzman to the lineup—and eventually came to be known as the Grateful Dead.

Weir’s odd rhythm style developed as he played between the sweet articulated lead of Garcia and the avant-garde bass lines of Lesh. His songwriting developed as well, taking off particularly in the 1970s when he crossed paths with former pal John Perry Barlow. The two began producing songs in Weir’s own distinct style, spurring a songwriting partnership that would last for years to come.

Even with the Dead playing close to 100 shows a year, Weir needed other musical outlets. 1972 brought the release of his first solo album, Ace, on which the rest of the Dead backed him. Throughout the rest of the 1970s Weir toured and recorded with a number of different groups, the first of which was Kingfish. After releasing an album with the band in 1976, Weir began a solo project with producer Keith Olsen called Heaven Help the Fool. A brief tour to support the album resulted in collaborations with various session players, including Brent Mydland (who would join the Dead in 1979), Bobby Cochran, Alphonso Johnson and Billy Cobham. Weir also briefly toured with a group as Bobby and the Midnites, producing two albums.

Throughout the late 1980s and during the first half of the 1990s, the Dead remained Weir’s primary gig. Touring incessantly while all the while building up a community of “Deadheads,” the band finally found commercial success with their 1987 album, In the Dark. When Garcia died in 1995, Weir had just recently formed RatDog with Rob Wasserman, a bassist he had been playing duo shows with since the late 1980s. After Garcia’s death, former Primus drummer Jay Lane and ex-Kingfish harmonica/guitar player Matthew Kelly were added into the mix. With a revolving lineup, the group toured relentlessly, building a name for themselves while performing a mix of new Weir compositions and older, reworked Dead songs.

In 1998, Weir reunited with several former Dead bandmates to tour as The Other Ones, releasing a live album in 1999 and hitting the road again in 2000. The same year, RatDog released their first album, Evening Moods. In 2009, original Grateful Dead members Weir, Lesh, Kreutzmann and Mickey Hart teamed up with guitarist Warren Haynes and RatDog keyboardist Chimenti to tour as the Dead. The results, however, were erratic, leaving Weir feeling like the road trip was more work than fun and Lesh saying the music didn’t seem to be moving forward. Besides stirring up some commotion, the ’09 Dead tour reminded Weir and Lesh of the chemistry the two had as bandmates. This led to the creation of Furthur—arguably one of the most successful Dead projects Weir has participated in to date.

Currently, Weir is married to the former Natascha Muenter, with whom he has two young daughters, Monet and Chloe. While not consumed by music, Weir spends a great deal of time as a social activist. He has done work as an environmental activist with several organizations, such as Greenpeace, and currently serves on the Board of Advisors for theRainforest Action Network and for Seva Foundation. He works with both the Rex Foundation, an organization started by the Dead in 1984, and the Furthur Foundation. Most recently, Weir is on the Board of Directors for Headcount, a nonprofit that registers voters and inspires participation in democracy through the power of music.

A long, strange, very creative trip—and not remotely over. Keep up with Bob on Facebook or follow him on Twitter: @BobWeirRatDog.