They Got the Beat: Starfarm and ’80s Music Go-Go Together Naturally

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Friday, July 12, 2019, 9:36 am
Christopher A. Wardell

This feature story about the band Starfarm was originally published by East Lansing Info on July 12, 2018. The ’80s pop and rock revivalists open the 2019 Summer Concert Series at 7 p.m. today in the Ann Street Plaza. Admission is free.

If you’ve been nostalgic for the music of the ’80s, and you want your MTV, look no further than Lansing’s Starfarm.

The band has been pouring some sugar on its fans since 2002, and the ’80s rock and pop revivalists have been a popular fixture in the Lansing area and beyond since their inception in 2002.

Starfarm will perform as a part of the East Lansing Summer Concert Series this Friday, July 12, at the Ann Street Plaza at 7 p.m.

Starfarm’s lead singer Whitney Spotts is looking forward to the show at the Ann Street Plaza, because according to her, it gives the band a chance to reach a whole new audience.

“We do really enjoy playing these shows,” Spotts said. “All of our fans who come to see us at our bar shows can bring their mini-mes, so it's really fun to see their families and entertain their kids!”

The band – comprised of Spotts, along with guitarist and vocalist Slammin’ Danny, bassist and vocalist Ryan Tarrant, keyboardist Sean Mirate, and drummer Dana Mirate – specialize in popular music from the 80s from Def Leppard, to Michael Jackson, Loverboy, The Go-Go’s, Prince, and Ah-Ha.

“I love the all ages shows because it's so much fun to see children dance,” Spotts said.

“Sometimes, it's their first concert ever, so it can be adorable to watch their reactions and take pictures with them between sets. The kids really make these shows for me.”

“I think the biggest crowd we've ever had at a summer concert is for Starfarm,” said Heather Surface, Community and Events Specialist for the City of East Lansing. “We've had upwards of 500 people downtown for them. A typical concert is anywhere from 50-200 people.”

Surface has been with the city for five-and-a-half years, and this is her fourth year booking the acts for the concert series. She values the input of others, and she’s even reached out to others in the music business for their feedback on who the city should book.

“The series’ line-up begins by looking at which bands had good attendance the previous year and reaching out to them,” Surface said. “Then, I'll look at recommendations by the community. The last thing I do is look at submissions from the bands themselves. I always try to get a diverse range of music that appeals to different audiences, too. Last year, I even reached out to a local popular DJ to see who his favorite local band is. He brought us Paddlebots, which seems to be a new local favorite.”

Surface is excited for Starfarm, but she’s also looking forward to all the acts performing this summer.

“I booked them, so I'm excited about all of them!” Surface said. “We have a diverse range of genres from oldies to reggae, and 80's to Celtic. I'm pretty proud of this year's line-up.”

More information on the Summer Concert Series is available here.

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