The project created by Mark Duval in Landmark Education’s Self-Expression and Leadership Program resulted in the first Kalamazoo Water Festival, held this past Saturday at the Arcadia Creek Festival Place. According to the Western Herald, the newspaper of Western Michigan University, Duval was a “vital igniter” of the festival launch.
In addition to taking part in Landmark’s SELP, Duval was inspired by Seth Bernard, who has held water festivals across Michigan. Duval began by creating a partnership with the Kalamazoo River Watershed Council, a non-profit dedicated to working with local groups to protecting the Kalamazoo River. Proceeds from the festival went to the Watershed Council.
With the one million gallon oil spill in the Kalamazoo River having recently taken place, the festival was a call to action for the community. Speakers and information booths supported attendees in how they could make a difference.
Additionally, entertainment was provided by a wide variety of local musicians – festival coordinator Michael Beauchamp performed with his band, Red Tail Ring, and band Red Sea Pedestrians performed a new song inspired by the Enbridge Oil Spill. Duval performed with his own band, Who Hit John? Many other bands from the thriving Michigan folk music scene also performed at the festival.