To add to the long list of events taking place the first month of the semester, another exciting midtown staple is set to kick off early September.
Dally in the Alley will take place Sept. 8 between Forest Avenue and Hancock Street, and 2nd Avenue and Anthony Wayne Drive.
Dally, which first officially started in 1977, will immerse visitors with an abundance of music, an immense amount of art and a drag show — the first in Dally’s history.
The family friendly, one-day event is free and close to Wayne State’s campus, making it very accessible for students.
Ten restaurants are set to whip up dishes at the event including Union Street, Majestic Cafe and Detroit Shrimp and Fish; food will be available for purchase. Additionally, a plethora of vendors will be selling diverse forms of art.
Every year, Dally hosts a wide variety of musicians and performers from across the state. This year, Dally is adding a twist by putting on a drag show organized by local group WIG — an organization that gives a platform to performative queer people who haven’t had a chance to perform, according to its founder Thomas McCarter.
“It’s a massive move for the drag community since Dally has never hosted a drag show before,” said McCarter, who is also a WSU dance student. “I think it’s going to be the biggest attraction for many, and I’m seriously nervous but excited.”
Many local bands are scheduled to serenade the Dally stages — one of which being Kimball, who hails from Royal Oak.
“This is going to be our first time performing at Dally,” said Austin McCauley, the band’s bassist. “We hadn’t even heard of it until this year; when I first was told about it, it sounded a lot like Arts Beats and Eats but with more focus on the music. We are really excited to be able to perform at this event.”
McCauley said the band considers their music indie alternative, but also use jazz and folk influences.
The bassist added Kimball has a high energy presence and plan on performing more intimate songs at Dally.
“We’ve played a few shows in Detroit, but never Dally,” he said. “It’s really exciting, especially being part of the music scene in Detroit. It’s a good community and Dally really expresses how great the music community in the city is.”
Allye Gaietto is performing solo at Dally; but has performed at the event in the past with her group: Junk Food Junkies.
She said Dally attendees can expect smart pop music with jazz and blues influences while she is on stage.
“My songs aren’t your typical love songs — they span a variety of topics and stories,” Gaietto said.
She said she is really excited to perform at the festival and to reveal her solo work.
“I actually used to live in one of the buildings on the alley, so this feels like a full circle movement from when I first moved to Detroit,” Gaietto said. “The fact that it’s for the community, run by volunteers and is sponsor free is rare and takes a lot of hard work.”
WSU music student Mark Whalen and his band, Mark Whalen and the Buttermilk Boys, will be performing at the event as well.
“We are really excited. It’s one of the gigs we are most looking forward to,” Whalen said. “We are super honored we got picked. We’ve been practicing nonstop and it means so much too, especially as a WSU student.”
Whalen said he would describe the group’s music as “laid back and chill.”
Whalen said the “festival is really cool” and enjoys that it’s only a block away from the performing arts building and that admission is free.
“It’s mix of everything and it’s such a diverse event,” Whalen said. “It’s become part of Detroit’s culture and something WSU students always go to.”
For many, Dally represents something deeper than an annual festival.
“It’s become a tradition for me to go,” said McCarter, founder of WIG. “Dally has always been a day or two before my birthday, so it’s like a big birthday celebration for me which makes it really special.”
Gaietto said that first-time attendees should expect to be in a crowd filled with people and dogs, along with plenty of music, food, beer and Cass Corridor energy.
“You think it’s just a cute little street, but it’s so much more than that,” McCarter said. “There’s always amazing bands that you’ve never heard of and you find new bands to love each year.”
Susana Hernandez is a staff writer for The South End. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.