A Brief History

Funfest Productions, Inc. was formed in 2006 by music industry veterans Kevin Cassidy and Joe Nieporte. At the time, Mr. Nieporte owned and operated the Emerald Theatre in Mt. Clemens, Michigan, and produced the National Stage at the highly successful Arts, Beats, & Eats street festival in Pontiac, Michigan. The successes of those two ventures gave him the idea to bring big name entertainment to the streets of Mt. Clemens. An event this big was too much for Nieporte to handle alone, so he reached out to Mr. Cassidy, who at the time was the General Manager of the Freedom Hill Amphitheatre in Sterling Heights, Michigan. After a few meetings, the two agreed to join forces, and as they say… “The rest is history”.

Funfest Productions, Inc. has went on to produce great summertime festivals and year-round special events that include world-class national live music, carnival rides, specialty attractions, laser light shows, fireworks, and more.  Funfest Productions, Inc. currently owns and operates some of the biggest events in Michigan that include the Stars & Stripes Festival at Freedom Hill County Park in Sterling Heights, the Uncle Sam Jam in Woodhaven, and the St. Clair Riverfest in St. Clair.

Funfest Productions, Inc. is also proud to be associated with the Grand Prix and the Rockin’ on the Riverfront concert series in downtown Detroit.

About the Owners

Mr. Nieporte started his career in his early 20′s as the booking agent for the original Ritz nightclub in the 1980′s. He sharpened his skills booking hundreds of national and local shows a year with great success. Joe moved on to the State Theatre, now called the Fillmore, in the 1990′s and became one of the most respected concert promoters and venue operators in the business.

The 21st century began when he created and developed the Emerald Theatre complex into a multi-purpose venue in 2000 that has hosted national concerts, nightclub style dance nights, and corporate parties and seminars. Highlighted events include corporate parties with Sports Illustrated, Chevrolet, Outback Restaurants, and Quicken Loans. The Emerald has also hosted numerous political events and fundraisers with various government officials, which include Governor Jennifer Granholm and Senator Debbie Stabenow. National concerts booked at the Emerald include Kid Rock, Eddie Money, Jewel, Cheap Trick, Alice in Chains, Hootie & the Blowfish, and Styx, just to name a few. In addition to owning and operating the Emerald, Mr. Nieporte also has been involved in numerous venues and special events that have included Freedom Hill Amphitheater,  Arts, Beats, and Eats, Detroit Downtown Hoedown, Motown Winter Blast, Jambalaya Street Festival, Detroit International Riverdays, the NCAA Final Four Big Dance and the Detroit Grand Prix.

Mr. Cassidy’s experience includes stints at Olympia Entertainment, and most recently established Freedom Hill Amphitheater as a respected venue on the national stage booking and marketing over 150 major acts since 2000 (highlighted names include Tony Bennett, Alabama, B-52’s, Aretha Franklin, Wynonna, Sugar Ray, Tommy Lee, Hank Williams, Jr., Art Garfunkel, Joe Cocker, David Lee Roth, Earth, Wind & Fire, Crosby, Stills, & Nash, Tom Jones, Michael Buble, BB King, Steve Miller Band, Counting Crows, O.A.R., Donna Summer, Michael McDonald, Huey Lewis & The News to name a few).

Funfest Owned Events

  • The Stars & Stripes Festival is entering its 10th year. It has consistently drawn over 500,000 people annually. In 2013 The Stars & Stripes Festival is moving to Freedom Hill County Park in Sterling Heights, Michigan.
  • The Uncle Sam Jam, the sister event to the Stars & Stripes Festival, takes place in Woodhaven, Michigan and is in its 7th year.  This event is growing rapidly in attendance, with estimated crowds reaching 100,000 this year.
  • The St. Clair Riverfest is currently in its 11th year.  Taking place on the banks of the St. Clair River, this event has grown from 20,000 people to over 100,000 people in a short period of time.  St. Clair Riverfest combines live concerts with the thrill of off-shore boat racing.
  • In 2016 we have partnered with the Stranahan Theater in Toledo, OH to bring Ohio Spring Fest on May 12-15, 2016 to the grounds of the Stranahan Theater!
  • We are very proud to say that all four of these events were created and developed by Funfest Productions, Inc. and that they have become great summertime community events that are looked forward to by the masses each year.

Clients (Past & Present)

  • Freedom Hill Amphitheatre (Current)
  • Harley Fest  (Current)
  • Rockin’ on the Riverfront Concert Series  (Current)
  • Andiamo Celebrity Showroom  (Current)
  • Arts, Beats, & Eats Festival  (Current)
  • Detroit River Days Festival  (Current)
  • Detroit Grand Prix  (Current)
  • Selfridge Air National Guard Air Show (2010)
  • Quake on the Lake  (2010)
  • Boats, Balloons, & BBQ Festival  (2010)
  • Sterling Heights Summer Blast  (2010)
  • NCAA Final Four Big Dance  (2009)
  • Detroit Country Music Hoedown (2003-2009)
  • Motown Winter Blast (2005-2006)