GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (ABC 4)- Confluence, a free festival that connects the worlds of art, music, science and technology, has announced plans for a new event to open the 2023 festival.

The Music Summit, presented by Michigan Music Alliance, will explore how innovation and technology are transforming the way music is created and experienced. The event will feature an open-air jam, instrument demos from Cusack Music, local vendors, food trucks, and a keynote address from Los Angeles musician, author and podcaster Ari Herstand.

Photo courtesy of Confluence

Labeled the “poster child of DIY music” by Forbes Magazine, Herstand’s best-selling books and podcasts have become the go-to resource for independent musicians hoping to build a successful career. His presentation, “How to Make It in the New Music Business,” will survey evolving technologies – such as metaverse concerts and streaming platforms – and how independent musicians can best harness these innovations to succeed.

The Summit continues with DJ sets, live looping artist Chris Clayton and Kalamazoo-based Americana rocker Grace Theisen. All events are at Rosa Parks Circle beginning at 5 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 22.

“Exploring the intersection of music and innovation is at the core of what we do at Confluence,” said Brian Cohen, Executive Director of the festival. “For instance, we used Opnr, an app developed by local entrepreneurs, to provide data and analytics to help us locate the perfect bands for the lineup. It’s exciting to bring together in one place all the great things that are happening across West Michigan’s music scene in terms of tech, education and community building.”

After the Summit, music returns to Confluence on Saturday, Sept. 23. Detroit band Au Gres bring their unique take on synth-pop to the main stage and Missouri-based indie rockers Fox Royale perform the headlining set. Complete details on the Music Summit and all of this year’s programming can be found at

Photo courtesy of Confluence

To date, event sponsors include Ferris State University, Grand Valley State University, Steelcase, JR Automation, City of Grand Rapids, Tito’s Handmade Vodka, Consumers Energy, Technology Council of West Michigan, Atomic Object, Gentex, Spartan Innovations, Warner Norcross + Judd, Gerald R. Ford International Airport, and New Belgium Brewing. Media partners include WOOD TV8, Grand Rapids Magazine and WGVU Public Media.

About Confluence

Founded in 2021, Confluence is a free, multi-dimensional ideas festival that connects art, music, science, and technology through shared experiences. Its mission is to support and celebrate the region’s ecosystem of innovation and creative thinkers. Confluence presents a range of experiential programming throughout the spring and fall.

About Michigan Music Alliance

Michigan Music Alliance was created in 2019 as a direct response to the needs expressed by West Michigan artists. Its mission is to provide Michigan musicians with accessible music business education programming and rich community building experiences that create lasting connection and collaboration opportunities.