Bones Fest XVIII

August 7-10, 2014 – Grand Rapids, MI
Host: Bill Vits
Summary       Original Story
Program Booklet
One Trip Pony Highlights
Remember Percy Session
Gerry Hines
Anika and Joseph Kooi


At Bones Fest XVIII, 50 attendees gathered in my home town of Grand Rapids, MI. Thursday night began with dinner at the One Trick Pony, and a rousing evening of bones playing. Sandor Slomovits surprised many with Emily & Jacob and a mini-set of their intimate music (http://


On Friday at 12:30 PM we all converged at Rosa Parks Circle where Celtic Kilroy was “frozen” as a bronze statue with bones. Suddenly, 30 bones players brought him to life and played along to Irish tunes. Steve Wixson and I enjoyed jamming with a local street musician. (Yes, we played a medley including Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean”!)


After lunch, Stephen Brown held a clinic on beginning bones. Several newbies were playing in no time. I did a clinic on rudimental bones and covered flams, paradiddles, and doubles. I enjoy playing the bones at a small drum set which adds lots of possibilities.


This bones fest was a tribute to Percy Danforth and we were blessed to have his son, grandson, and great-grandson(!) in attendance. Malcolm Danforth brought an inherited treasure box of his father’s memorabilia. Mac gave this treasure trove to Percy’s grandson, Jonathan Danforth. Another special guest was Sue Barber, who wrote and documented much of Percy’s rhythm bone history.


Friday evening we were treated to a Polish dinner, and my wife Stacey’s desserts.

Before we knew it, Saturday night’s show was here. It was fast paced. All the regulars performed, but there were several “next generation” performers: Anika and Joseph Kooi played the bones AND tap danced; Jack Frost played to a gallop rhythm; Kathy Whisler sang and played with a wonderful voice; and, Jeremy Brown pleased the crowd playing bones to “Happy”. It is apparent that the RBS is healthy, happy and teaching new people to play the bones.