GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Before the doors opened at GLC Live at 20 Monroe Saturday the energy around Barley, BBQ and Beats was palpable in downtown Grand Rapids.

The line stretched down the street. People waiting asked if there were still tickets available — there were not. It was a sellout of 1,700 people all eager to support the work of Hospice of Michigan.

Hospice of Michigan has now raised more than $600,000 statewide at Barley, BBQ and Beats events, and there’s still four events left.

“The community owns hospice care, and that’s what this is all about at the end of the day,” Marcie Hillary, Hospice of Michigan SVP of community relation, said. “We’re going to celebrate life because that is part of hospice care but really it’s to raise money for such a great organization that just delivers care in this community.”

Local restaurants and distilleries showed off some of their most delicious dishes and the band Wayland warmed up the stage for country music star Kelsea Ballerini. But the real stars of the night were people who donated to help support Hospice of Michigan’s Open Access program.

“Open Access and what we fundraise for, helps us to say ‘yes’ no matter what to anybody who needs our care,” Hillary said. “This event is really important. I mean we raise about $4 million every year just to support this program and others and tonight — and the all the Barleys combined — our goal is to raise $1.3 million and Grand Rapids is the biggest one.”

Ever dollar raised at the Grand Rapids event and the five other Barley, BBQ and Beats events across the state will be matched dollar for dollar, up to $250,000, by the Steve and Amy Van Andel Foundation.

“Here’s the truth about life, death is part of life. We cannot change that, but we can change the journey on how people get there, and that’s what Hospice does,” Amy Van Andel said. “We walk alongside people every step of the way and try to make their lives a little easier and a little better. And to me, I can’t imagine anything that we would rather support.”

To learn more about future Barley, BBQ and Beats events, or to donate to the “Make it a Double” match, go to