Summer’s still quite a way off, but it’s never too early to get excited about good jazz!
GRandJazzFest presented by DTE Energy Foundation returns to Rosa Parks Circle in downtown Grand Rapids, Mich., this Aug. 20 and 21, for the fifth annual festival. The popular family-friendly festival, which attracted more than 10,000 people last year, is West Michigan’s only free, weekend-long jazz festival. The two-day festival will again be free because of Presenting Sponsor DTE Energy Foundation, the City of Grand Rapids and other sponsoring organizations and individuals.
“Grand Rapids and West Michigan have embraced GRandJazzFest,” founder Audrey Sundstrom said. “We’re proud to say GRandJazzFest is one of the most diverse, community-oriented festivals for people who live here, who travel here, and who want to enjoy two days of great live music in a vibrant downtown setting. THIS is what community is all about.”
Each year, GRandJazzFest has been held at Rosa Parks Circle in the heart of downtown Grand Rapids to enable festival-goers to take in all that downtown has to offer: restaurants, clubs, museums, microbreweries and shops. The festival typically occurs during Restaurant Week in Grand Rapids. The festival’s location provides easy access to those who ride the bus, walk or bike, and is also close to parking.
The 2016 festival lineup will be announced on April 27 at the House of Entertainment and Music (H.O.M.E.) at The B.O.B. That night at H.O.M.E., the band Evidence led by saxophonist Michael Doyle takes the stage. Evidence performed at the 2014 GRandJazzFest.
Like last year’s reveal, festival organizers will coordinate with leaders at International Jazz Day to include GRandJazzFest’s reveal announcement as a sanctioned International Jazz Day event.
At the 2016 festival in August, 11 diverse jazz artists and bands will perform, including a student jazz band and two major headline acts.
Free face painting by Fancy Faces will be available for kids and, if lines aren’t too long, for “kids at heart.”
GR and Jazz (the non-profit, all-volunteer-run producer of GRandJazzFest) is pleased to announce a special collaboration with the Grand Rapids Art Museum: Under an agreement with GRAM, the festival’s VIP area will be located on the GRAM front terrace where refreshments and snacks will be provided. The VIP area is for sponsors of GRandJazzFest. Additionally, GRAM will have an outdoor bar area set up at the base of its front steps adjoining Rosa Parks Circle for attendees who would like to purchase and consume refreshments and enjoy the festival.
Grand Rapids city commissioners approved GRandJazzFest as one of 24 events that it will co-sponsor in 2016, a distinction only given to events that have proven to be successful and enrich the community. GRandJazzFest 2015 received distinction as a Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. Signature Event along with two other festivals, ArtPrize and LaughFest.
In addition to DTE Energy Foundation, the City of Grand Rapids, and GRAM, sponsors for the 2016 event to date include GR and Jazz, IntentPR, Gilmore Collection, Comcast, Hilger Hammond, Amway Hotel Corporation, Experience Grand Rapids, ICON Sign, Meijer, Moxie Men Incorporated, Hungerford Nichols, WGVU, Steelcase and Clark Hill. Sponsorship opportunities are here.
“We are so grateful to all of our sponsors for their support – we could not do it without them,” Sundstrom said. “We’re seeking additional sponsors to help us bring a full weekend of FREE, family-friendly live jazz performances to West Michigan!”
Get a taste of past GRandJazzFests by viewing the “recap” videos here.