Downtown Fenton’s Street Experience


Angelina Vitarelli, Print Editor-in-Chief

On Friday nights in downtown Fenton, one can hear live music being played throughout the streets as they walk, eat or play. Local Sara DeBord had the chance to perform with friends and family in the Street Experience in their group called Camper sessions band.

“My own experience performing [at the Street Experience] was all at once terrifying and exhilarating,” DeBord said. “The talents of our overall group are diverse and multi-leveled, but singing with your best friends and your child is an experience I am happy to say I have. It doesn’t matter what I do with my best friend’s family. I have fun and it becomes about enjoying my time with them and not the fear or the strangers.”

To be able to perform at the Fenton Street Experience, an audition is required and must be sent to Kristen Archambeau through her email, [email protected] or her phone number +1 (810)-252-0187. Archambeau approves the musicians and also selects a location for the performer on the street. Some of the locations are by Ciao and The Laundry.

“I’ve had a lot of fun performing both in front of The Laundry and Ciao,” local Elise Bugala said. “I played in October of 2020 when they first started having live music, it was really cold that week. I had a hard time playing guitar and piano because my fingers were going numb. But it was just good to get out and see people enjoying an event given the circumstances.”

Each location can present a different group of people during the six hours the streets are shut down.

“There’s a contrast between the audiences at the different locations,” Bugala said. “Near The Laundry and Scoop there were more young people walking, riding around and passing by. I play more “coffee shop vibe” background music so I felt like that gig was more my style. Whereas in front of Ciao, I felt more like the main dinner entertainment. That challenged me more as a performer because I had to keep the same crowd engaged. This was better for friends and family who came to see me perform because they were able to have dinner outdoors during my set.”

Musicians are expected to bring their own instruments and equipment to Street Experience. They are also paid 100 dollars after their performance for their time and effort, regardless of weather cancellations. Performers may also leave out a tip jar, in whatever form they choose.

“This year two of my gigs were rained out. As you can see with outdoor gigs the weather can really make or break it,” Bugala said.

Incoming freshman Landon Vitarelli had the opportunity to play at the Fenton Street Experience as well.

“I performed with my parents and siblings, Sara, Reese and Kenny DeBord. We are called the Camper Sessions band,” Vitarelli said.

The Street Experience offers many opportunities for young musicians to display their talents and abilities, and be able to do so in a performance setting.

“I play the keyboard, piano and I sing,” Vitarelli said. “I have been playing for about seven years. I enjoy playing the piano because I like to learn new music and learn new things.”

The Street Experience is an innovative way to boost business for the community, display new talent and enjoy downtown Fenton.