You never know what will cause a viral sensation. In 2011, Grand Rapids did it with a large-scale LipDub set to a live version of Don McLean’s epic “American Pie.”

The video was filmed on the streets of downtown Grand Rapids on May 22 and uploaded to YouTube on May 26. Within four days, it was viewed 1.7 million times, on its way to a total of 5.9 million views (and counting). That led YouTube Trends to call Grand Rapids the LipDub Capital of America.

Here’s a look at the video and two other fun community LipDubs.

Grand Rapids LipDub

Filmed in one continuous 10-minute take, primarily from the back of a constantly moving tractor, the video features local celebrities, marching bands, weddings, motorcades, “exploding” bridges, helicopter take-offs and more.

NPR called it “a pure treat to watch” – and it’s a great introduction to the community spirit that pervades Grand Rapids. Take a look:



The Grand Rapids Lip Dub video has garnered worldwide media coverage spanning multiple continents, including Asia, Europe and Australia. In the U.S., it attracted plenty of attention and accolades from coast to coast:

Film critic Roger Ebert dubbed it the "greatest music video ever made."

Nightly news magazine, "Inside Edition," featured segments of the video in its syndicated show.

Yahoo! Music featured it on their website and Mashable highlighted it on their homepage.

Kathy Lee and Hoda discussed the LipDub video on their segment of The Today show.

Perhaps the greatest endorsement came from the "American Pie" singer himself. Don McLean posted "Amazing "American Pie" LipDub to his followers on Twitter. McLean later visited Grand Rapids and praised the project – and the city.

Clark Retirement Community LipDub

The Grand Rapids LipDub inspired residents of the city’s Clark Retirement Community to create their own LipDub Video. This was also shown on the Today Show and Good Morning America!


Grand Valley State University LipDub

A year before the Grand Rapids LipDub, GVSU assembled volunteer performers, dancers and musicians to film a LipDub in celebration of the college’s 50th anniversary.


Grand Rapids has had plenty of other brushes with fame over the years, from feature film appearances to worldwide acclaim for our annual ArtPrize festival, but the LipDub holds a special place in our hearts!