Skitchin’ Fest returns with local music and accessibility advocacy

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Local music aficionado Tyler Dykema is throwing a music festival for the third year in a row.  The two-day Skitchin' Fest 3.0 happens this weekend at The Pyramid Scheme.

Dykema lives with a disability, but more importantly, he lives and breathes local music.  After starting a zine, also called Skitchin', in March of 2016, he set his sights on organizing a live music event.

Skitchin' Fest was born.

This year's festival will include eight local bands over Saturday and Sunday.

Dykema will speak to the crowd before the music each night, touching on issues relevant to the local music scene. This year, he will be discussing consent and harassment.

Dykema is no stranger to public speaking.  He spoke to a crowd of several hundred people at last weekend's Bled Fest in Howell.

He has dedicated much of his life's work to advocating for people living with disabilities.

"I want to inspire other disabled people more than anything. And I want us to not have to overcome as much. You know, I want to remove barriers from our society and the systems in place," Dykema says.

This year the festival will be held at The Pyramid Scheme.

"The staff, myself, my mangers have all formed a really good relationship with him. So when he came to us with this, we said 'absolutely, absolutely yes,'" Co-owner Tami VandenBerg told FOX 17. "We want this to be a place for everybody.

Photo Courtesy: Matt Oberski

"We wanted everyone to feel welcome. That means people in wheelchairs, all different races, all different ethnicities and sexual orientations.”

He hopes to continue with Skitchin' Fest next year and also plans to spend much of 2019 writing his first book.

He says the book will continue where Skitchin' the Zine leaves off.

The Zine isn't going anywhere though.  Dykema will have a table at Grand Rapids Zine Fest 2019, where he will be selling the 10th issue of Skitchin' the Zine.

For more information about the event or to buy tickets to Skitchin' Fest 3.0, you can click here.

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