The Accidentals bring energetic alt-folk rock show and music workshop to Capitol Theatre

FLINT, Michigan — International indie folk/pop/rock quartet The Accidentals is coming to the FIM Capitol Theatre on Friday, June 2 at 8 p.m. Comprised of multi-instrumentalists, the band was formed by Michigan natives Savannah “Sav” Buist and Katie Larson, and has been featured guests at massive music festivals such as Austin City Limits and SXSW. NPR has praised the band for its unique, contemporary, compelling songwriting. 

Before the show in Flint, Buist and Larson will also host a music improv workshop at FIM, available to musicians of all ages. The Capitol Theatre Blackbox free workshop features a conversation starter and warm-up, a Q&A segment, a jam session, and tips for improvising on instruments. Students who attend the workshop will be given one free ticket and VIP access to early entry. Registration is available online

Larson and Buist have a special place in their heart for teaching music as education has remained a huge part of the band’s story. 

“Teaching kind of goes back to the beginning of our start as a band since Sav and I had the chance to meet in high school through our public school music program,” Larson says of the duo who met in orchestra class. 

“We had an amazing teacher who encouraged us to think outside the box and get out of our comfort zone by trying improv and learning different styles, and making our own music. We had a duo called The Moxie Strings who came to do a workshop with us. It sort of just blew my mind. They were really encouraging us to be fearless, try different things, and pretty soon after that, Sav and I started playing music together. That snowballed into The Accidentals, recording, writing, and touring.”

Since then, the band has made it a point to return to schools and host similar clinics like the ones that so positively impacted and shaped their music careers. The topics range from alternative string styles of violin and cello to songwriting and self-expression. These workshops are included in the band’s busy touring schedule all over the world. They’re not only fun for the band, but also beneficial for participants both in and out of classrooms. 

“One of the most important things to us is making sure that everybody has the same right to express themselves creatively,” says Buist. “It’s one of the things that helped us when we were really young and trying to find our way. We were even more introverted back then when we first got started. Without those music programs, I feel like we wouldn’t have found our way or developed any skill set toward being able to cope with how we were feeling or the chaos outside. We think it’s really important that every student and every person has the ability to at least try that out as a form of expression.”

The Accidentals.While The Accidentals band has been able to travel all over the globe, joining some of the world’s biggest stages and performing at major music festivals, some of the local lineups have meant the most to these Michiganders. After all, the pair got their musical start in Traverse City, playing coffee shops and breweries as teenagers. For Larson, playing Blissfest in Harbor Springs was a ‘big deal’ and a fond memory.

“Blissfest and Harvestfest both opened their doors to us when we were really young and still in high school,” she says. “Last summer, we got to come back and play on the big stage at Blissfest. We got to play back-to-back with Shawn Colvin who we are huge fans of. We were in awe to be on the same stage as Shawn and all these other great musicians. I think that was a big, full-circle moment coming back to one of those festivals that started everything.”

For Buist, it’s the entire, unpredictable journey that’s a career highlight. There’s been everything from celebrity encounters to late-night sessions for big-name artists, and gigs in caves, mountains, swimming pools, schools, and concert halls. 

“One time, we cut a 5 a.m. violin and cello session for this K-pop band called BTS,” she says. “We didn’t even have a scale for how big that was going to end up. We had a similar situation happen where we cut strings for a song, and it ended up in Eurovision with 3 million views on Youtube. Almost every single person or band I can think of in music, we have some sort of story or relationship to them. It’s so incredible.”

As for their success, the humble musicians give credit to their manager and a fierce, female tour team of women looking out for other women. Buist also credits the band’s fans and supporters as being an integral part of the band’s ecosystem. 

“I also think the audience and the people who support you are part of the crew,” she says. “Oftentimes, we’ve turned to them when we’ve needed things the most.”

Despite success, the last few years have been trying, too. In January 2019, the band’s trailer was stolen out of a parking lot. After recovering and rebuying a lot of their equipment, in July 2019, a car crashed into the trailer, flipping it. The Accidentals started to question the name of their band after they lost a bunch of equipment yet again. Six months later, the pandemic shut down the world and the entire music industry came to a screeching halt. 

“It really put a lot of doubt in our minds as to whether or not we were able to keep doing this because those were massive financial hits,” Buist says. “Granted, we had a ton of support from sponsors and the same crowd that has always had our back no matter what, so we were lucky and fortunate enough to be able to keep moving. People supported us, and sent gas cards in the mail, and showed up to shows with cookies and baked goods and made sure we’re okay.”

The FIM Capitol Theatre is located at 140 E. Second St. in downtown Flint. This supportive community also created a Patreon group for the band, which has taken off in the last few years. While the basis of the group allows fans to see the behind-the-scenes of the musicians, it’s also become more like a group of friends. The intimate group even gets together for Zoom Book Club meetings. 

As the group prepares to return to Flint, they are excited to spend time in the city that so many fans have requested. During the Flint water crisis, The Accidentals did a tour with Seth Bernard, for the Clean Water Campaign

“I’m excited to come to Flint and experience the city again,” Buist says. “Oftentimes, I find myself driving through because there’s a luthier shop in Burton called Mark Schwartz Violins, where we go to all the time. He’s fantastic. I’m excited to play a show there and hang out with all the people who have been asking us to come, and be there and recognize their city as one of the places in Michigan we find really special.”

Returning to the stage for live in-person shows remains a special feeling for the band after years of livestreaming during the height of the pandemic. 

“We needed a way to connect with people and they needed a way to connect with us,” Buist says. “It provided a point of accessibility where it hadn’t been for people who are disabled or unable to go to concerts and enjoy that same feeling everybody else gets to enjoy. Livestreaming gave that to us very briefly. That was such a huge adjustment point during the pandemic, but I’m very glad we did it.”

The Flint show is also special because it’s the kickoff to the summer tour season, says Larson. Joined by additional bass and electric guitar players, this rendition of The Accidentals is a female four-piece. 

“What’s special about the Capitol Theatre show is that it’s going to be full-on energy,” Larson says. “We’re putting together a light show, we’re going to have visuals projected on a screen behind us, we’re going to be featuring some of Patty PerShayla and Katelynn Corll. It’s going to be a full dynamic range, no one has seen this before, not even us,” she laughs. 

Following the show, the band is flying out to Greece, Italy, and Croatia for a bike and boat tour, teaching workshops, and doing performances. In between gigs, they’ll be biking in between boating stops through historic vineyards and iconic places overseas. Then, they’re back to the mitten state for more Midwest tour dates and Michigan summer music festivals.

Tickets for the concert are available online, by phone at: 810-237-7333, or at one of the FIM Ticket Center box offices at either the FIM Capitol Theatre or FIM Whiting Auditorium.
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Read more articles by Sarah Spohn.