Detroit Jazz Festival Brings Amazing Music, Fireworks to the Heart of Downtown Detroit

Detroit may be known for Motown, but each Labor Day weekend for the past 34 years the sounds of world-class jazz takes over Downtown Detroit. Today, Chris Collins, artistic director for the Detroit Jazz Festival fills us in on what’s in store for the four-day festival that starts Friday.

Q: Can you tell us more about the Detroit Jazz Festival and your role?

A: The Detroit Jazz Festival is a really a cultural tour-de-force for Detroit region and throughout the jazz world. It’s the world’s largest free jazz festival and was recently voted by JazzTimes magazine readers as the one of the top two festivals in North America. Every Labor Day for 34 years running, this festival has brought some of the greats of this true American art form to the heart of Detroit for four days of music on four stages, three in Hart Plaza and one in Campus Martius. The festival attracts more than 100,000 people over four days and nearly 25 percent are from out of state, and we have an economic impact in the tens of millions, so it’s a cultural and economic driver for Southeast Michigan

While the festival weekend is our most visible event, many people don’t realize that the Detroit Jazz Festival is a year-round happening. We have events throughout the year such as a Duke Ellington tribute with saxophonist James Carter, a Detroit native, at the Fillmore last March; our Detroit Divas Sing Sing Sing event annually at the Edsel and Eleanor Ford House in Grosse Pointe which is tonight, Aug. 23; and then our Nov. 2 event at Orchestra Hall featuring world-renown saxophonist Wayne Shorter, with Grammy-winner Esperanza Spalding, and the DSO. These are events that are designed to keep the spirit of the festival prevalent throughout the year.

Q: What can visitors expect at this year’s festival?

A: So this year once again, we have a world-class lineup. Opening night is the Macy Gray with the David Murray Big Band and the Danilo Pérez Panama 500. On Sat., Sun. and Mon. we go from around noon until 11 p.m. Saturday headliners are McCoy Tyner and the Sax Summit with Joe Lovano, Dave Liebman and Ravi Coltrane; Sunday is Ahmad Jamal and John Scofield Überjam and Monday is “MILES SMILES“ featuring Wallace Roney, Larry Coryell, Rick Margitza, Ralphe Armstrong, and Alphonse Mouzon, and Joshua Redman Quartet. In addition we have 250-plus local musicians playing including high school and college bands. So, there’s a little something for everyone including late-night jam sessions at the Marriott at the Renaissance Center from 11 p.m. until the wee hours. Beyond the music, there’s great food and art and on Saturday and Sunday nights, we have fireworks on the Detroit River after the last performance. All in all, there are a slew of great activities.

Q: Are there any “can’t miss” performances this year?

A: Well, again, the headliners are out of this world. To put it in context, these are people you would pay hundreds of dollars to see at say, Lincoln Center in New York City. So these are must-dos. But, this year one of the focuses of the festival is one-of-a-kind tributes that you can’t see anywhere else like a Teddy Harris, Jr. tribute by the New Breed Be Bop Society, a tribute to Stan Kenton featuring The Four Freshmen and the Toledo Jazz Orchestra and the four-performance Detroit Jazz Festival Tribute to the late, great Dave Brubeck featuring the Brubeck Brothers.

Q: Do you have any suggestions for other things to see and do while visitors are in town for the festival?

A: Well, Detroit is really so alive right now. Opportunity Detroit is a new sponsor and we couldn’t be happier because our mission and theirs align – and that is to continue to make Detroit a city of promise. So, our festival has a full-days’ worth of wonderful music, but outside there are many other things to do. We often tell people that they can’t go wrong by spending a morning at Eastern Market, or heading over to the Motown Museum or the Detroit Institute of Arts. For those that want more flavor for the neighborhoods of Detroit, Corktown has a slew of interesting restaurants, refurbished houses and a funky vibe that resonates. And, of course because of my role as director of Jazz Studies at Wayne State University, I would be remiss not to mention all the Cultural Center and university areas have much to offer.

Q: Where can people go to learn more about the festival?

A: The best place is the web site at www.detroitjazzfest.com, where you can find complete schedules, maps and details on all the activities.

Learn more about the Detroit Jazz Festival and other happenings around the state on michigan.org. Let us know if you’ll be attending the festival in the comments below!

In addition to being the artistic director of the Detroit Jazz Festival, Chris Collins is a professional jazz woodwind player, and professor and director of jazz studies at Wayne State University (WSU) in Detroit. Collins has been involved with the Detroit Jazz Festival, first as a student and then as a Detroit artist, for 30 years. Originally from Detroit, he began playing the saxophone and clarinet at the age of 10. In addition to his solo career, Collins has played professionally with artists including the Phil Collins Big Band, Doc Severinsen, Mel Torme, Michael Feinstein, Lou Rawls and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra.

Family Fun at Cheeseburger in Caseville

Michigan is home to a ton of festivals year-round, but one of the most unique may just the Cheeseburger in Caseville Festival! Held every August as a tribute to Jimmy Buffett and delicious cheeseburgers, the festival is all about having fun in the sun whether you’re 8 years old or 88! This year’s event is happening now through next Sunday, August 18.

Below, festival chairman Steve Lowers answers on our questions on the annual event.

Q. Can you tell us more about your role in Cheeseburger in Caseville?

A. I have been president of the Caseville Chamber of Commerce for 10 years and am also Chairman of the Cheeseburger Festival.  I am just one of the many volunteers that help to put the festival together and am involved in the overall planning of the event including scheduling the bands and details of events throughout the festival.

Q. The festival is now in its 15th year; are there any new additions?

A. Some of the new events this year include a larger kid’s day and a book signing by “Michigan Killers” author Jonathan Rand. Throughout the festival we have several new kids’ events. We also are bringing back the popular laser light show and have some new bands that will be taking the stages.

Q. Since the festival’s start, it has definitely grown throughout the years. Can you tell us more about the history of the festival?

A. The festival has grown a lot since it all started in 1999. The first year it was only a three day festival and now lasts 10 days. When I took over as Chairman 10 years ago we decided to expand and because three days just wasn’t enough time. The attendance has also jumped each year; the first year of the festival we sold 300 buttons for $3.00 and last year we sold over 10,000 buttons for $10 apiece. Each year thousands descend on our small town for 10 days of fun.

Q. Cheeseburger has won several “Michigan Fun Awards,” what makes the festival so deserving of these awards?

A. We are a really creative bunch! We really enjoy planning the festival and take a lot of pride in the community and the festival. I believe that a group of decision makers is better than one and it shows in the festival.

Q. What other activities can festivalgoers do in Caseville outside of the festival?

A. Caseville has beautiful beaches, great golf courses, lots of campgrounds and some really great shops.

Q. Just for fun, can you tell us what would be on your perfect burger?

A. I really like blue cheese so for me it would have to be one of the black and blue burgers that some of the vendors sell. A black and blue burger is a cajun seasoned burger loaded with blue cheese.

Q. What’s the most surprising thing you have learned or seen working in this event?

A. I’ve learned that there is a fine line between a festival and a party. A festival involves ages 1-100 and a party is for adults, through the years we have prided ourselves on remaining a great festival. Our festival is one of the best and biggest in Michigan because it is so family oriented. That’s why I do it!

Q. Where can you go to learn more about the festival?

A. Visit www.casevillechamber.net, the Caseville Area Chamber of Commerce Facebook page or take a listen to the radio show below!

Steve Lowers is the President and Chairman of Caseville Area Chamber of Commerce and Chairman of the Cheeseburger in Caseville Festival. For more information about events going on across Pure Michigan visit michigan.org/events.

Pure Michigan August 2013 Events Roundup

August is just around the corner, and there are a ton of fun things happening around the state! From music, art and film festivals to racing events and more, there is something for everyone – whatever your interest might be.

Below is a roundup of just some of the many events going on around the state in August. Please visit michigan.org for a complete listing.

 

 Week of July 28

Traverse City Film Festival 2013
July 30 – August 4, 2013, Traverse City
Founded in 2005 this festival presents an outstanding selection of independent films as well as premieres, parties, panel discussions and lectures about the world of film. Most events are held in or near downtown Traverse City and there are free family movies each night at the Open Space Park on Grand Traverse Bay. For more information visit the website or call (231) 392-1134.

Menominee Waterfront Festival
August 1-4, 2013, Menominee
Head to Menominee for the annual Waterfront Festival that features a parade, food vendors, live music, children’s activities, sailboat race on the bay, 5K and 10K runs and walk, and more. Visit the website for a daily schedule of events.

Flint Jazz Festival
August 2-4, 2013, Flint
Relax while listening to local Flint Jazz musicians as well as regional and national headliners. Food vendors and art and craft vendors will add magic and color to the event. Performances run Friday evening and all afternoon on Saturday and Sunday. Event held at Riverbank Park in beautiful downtown Flint (200 Beach Street). For more information visit the website.

Tawas Bay Fine Art Festival
August 3-4, 2013, Tawas City
This fine art show and sale on Tawas Bay is located at Tawas City Park U.S. 23. The event features fine art, pottery, wood carving, sea glass and silver jewelry, black ash baskets, musical entertainment, children’s hands-on art and food vendors.

Wooden Boat Week
August 4-11, 2013, Cedarville
Wooden Boat Week is a celebration of Les Cheneaux’s boating heritage with events and activities leading up to the 36th Annual Les Cheneaux Wooden Boat Show and Festival of Arts. Les Cheneaux is more than just home to hundreds of wooden boats—we have shops, galleries and events happening the whole week leading up to the 35th Annual Antique Wooden Boat Show & Festival of Arts Saturday, August 10, 2013. A complete list of the week’s activities can be found at the website link starting around July, or call (906) 484-3935.

Week of August 4

Coopersville Summerfest
August 6-10, 2013, Coopersville
Mark your calendars for August 6 – 10, 2013, for a full week of family-friendly activities, including the Del Shannon Memorial Car show and the Coopersville Tractor Show. For more information on this event, visit the website or call the Coopersville Chamber of Commerce at (616) 997-5165 or (616) 997-5164.

Humungus Fungus Fest
August 8-11, 2013, Iron River
Join us in Crystal falls for three days of celebration of this giant fungus phenomenon. The main event seems to be the making and eating of the Humungus Pizza. The fungus topped pizza is 10 feet by 10 feet! It’s the largest mushroom pizza in the world! There will also be a parade, fireworks and other races, tournaments and competitions. For more information on this event, visit the link or call the Chamber at (906) 265-3822.

Mackinac Island Festival of the Horse
August 8-11, 2013, Mackinac Island
Join us for another exciting festival this August 8th to 11th to see special guests that include Australia’s Double Dan Horsemanship and USDF Gold Medalist Betsy Van Dyke! The festival will once again showcase popular events like the Mackinac Island Carriage and Saddle Horse Parade, Festival of the Horse Show, Antique Driving Presentation, Pony Rides and much more! Visit the website for all the details!

South Haven’s 50th Annual National Blueberry Festival
August 8-11, 2013, South Haven
The 50th Anniversary Celebration of the National Blueberry Festival will be August 8-11, 2013. This four-day festival will be held in various locations in and out of doors in the Lake Michigan beach town community of South Haven. Many events take place overlooking South Haven’s picturesque harbor, 110 year old lighthouse and Lake Michigan. This is a very family-friendly event with activities for all ages to enjoy! Plus, most all events are free and open to the public. For main stage information and daily activities, visit the web link or call (269) 637-5252 or (800) SO-HAVEN.

New Buffalo Ship & Shore Festival
August 9-11, 2013, New Buffalo
Come to New Buffalo August 9-11 for three days of non-stop live entertainment, great food, family activities, contests, shopping and more! The highlight of the festival is a lighted boat parade through the New Buffalo harbor Saturday night followed by a huge fireworks display over Lake Michigan! For more information contact (773) 791-1809.

Week of August 11

Frankfort Art Fair
August 16-18, 2013, Frankfort
The Frankfort Art Fair is a local fine art fair with over 175 artists held in beautiful Market Square Park in downtown Frankfort. There is a free shuttle from Main St. to the fair and a collector car show three blocks away. The event includes a pancake breakfast, pig roast, cruise night and more! The Art Fair is open Friday 4 p.m. -8 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m.-5 p.m. For more information, call (231) 352-7251.

African World Festival
August 16-18, 2013, Detroit
After a successful 30th African World Festival (AWF) that brought 100,000 attendees to the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, once again AWF will be celebrated on the grounds of The Wright Museum with special performances, poetry, arts and crafts, African drumming and dance, hundreds of vendors, ethnic foods, and events for all ages, including an expanded Watoto Village for the youngest attendees! To learn more about this free three-day festival, visit the website.

Woodward Dream Cruise 2013
August 17, 2013, Berkley
Dig out your letter sweater and poodle skirt, throw on your blue suede shoes, slick back your hair and get ready to enjoy a day filled with classic cars and great entertainment. This is the world’s largest one-day celebration of car culture and attracts more than 1 million visitors and more than 40,000 muscle cars, street rods, custom, collector and special interest vehicles. From 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. through eight communities of Berkley, Bloomfield Hills, Bloomfield Township, Ferndale, Huntington Woods, Pleasant Ridge, Pontiac and Royal Oak. For more information on this event, visit the website.

GRandJazzFest
August 17-18, 2013, Grand Rapids
GRandJazzFest is a free event August 17 2013, from noon until 10 p.m., featuring jazz artists with Michigan ties! GRandJazzFest brings together notable jazz performers as well as highlights up-and-coming artists for diverse audiences. GRandJazzFest is being held at Rosa Parks Circle, a central location in the heart of downtown Grand Rapids. Lineup includes Nick Colionne, Deon Yates, Phil Denny and more. For schedule and performer information, visit the website.

Pure Michigan 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
August 18, 2013, Brooklyn
The 2013 racing season concludes with the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pure Michigan 400. The Sprint Cup Series stars always end the MIS season with an exciting finale, featuring many lead changes and exciting finishes. With great camping, affordable adult prices, special kids pricing, free parking and the ability to bring a bigger cooler with your favorite food and beverages, MIS is the perfect way to end your summer race season. Call (800) 354-1010 or visit the website for ticket and camping information.

Week of August 18

Midland Folk Music Festival
August 22-25, 2013
The festival features workshops, stage shows and festival activities. Thursday, Friday and Saturday, there will be lots of workshops at all levels, covering many acoustic instruments and dance. For those who enjoy performing or watching others perform, there will be many open mic periods. For entrance fees and more information, visit the website.

Clio Fest
August 23-24, 2013, Clio
Downtown Clio is the home of the annual Clio Fest on August 23-24. There will be music both days at the Clio Amphitheater as well as in the entertainment tent. There will also be food, a motorcycle poker run, car cruise, bounce houses for the kids, vendor booths and much more. Please call (810) 687-7590 for more information or visit our website for details and updates.

28th Street Metro Cruise
August 23-24, 2013, Grand Rapids
With fifteen miles of car events along historic 28th Street in Grand Rapids, Michigan with the epicenter at Rogers Plaza Mall in Wyoming (972 Rogers Plaza SW), the Metro Cruise® has grown through the years to become West Michigan’s premiere auto event, attracting more than 200,000 visitors and over 15,000 vehicles. Planned events include “Metro Cruise® Live” – two nights of live-televised, rarely seen autos, the fan-favorite Pinup Girl Contest, a Sock Hop with live music, the annual Swap Meet, a DJ on premise, and food vendors. More events to come – check out the website for updates or call (616) 719-6494.

End of Summer Blues Fest
August 24, 2013, Alpha
Come to Alpha, Michigan, on August 24, for the End of Summer Blues Fest. Gates open at noon, music begins at 1 p.m. A very fun event for the whole family at the Pavillion in Alpha, Michigan. The event will also feature food and merchandise vendors. Bring a bag chair and come relax to some good music!

Coho Festival
August 24-25, 2013, Honor
The annual Coho Festival is a two-day event centralized in Honor, Michigan usually the 4th weekend in August. Honor is considered the ‘birthplace’ of salmon in the state of Michigan, as the first salmon were planted in the Platte River. Activities include a parade, state fish hatchery tours, lawn tractor races, a 5K-walk/run, an arts & crafts fair combined with a flea market, games and fun for the young, a beer tent with live entertainment and more. For more information, visit the website or call (800) 882-5801.

Week of August 25

Marquette Marathon

August 30-31, 2013, Marquette
The full, half and marathon relay are on August 31, 2013 with the kids race and race expo taking place on August 30, 2013. The Marquette Marathon is an official Boston Marathon qualifier that has been organized by marathon runners for marathon runners. The course is relatively flat and extremely scenic, taking you pass some of Marquette’s most notable locations. These sights include Presque Isle, the Marquette lighthouse, iron ore docks and miles and miles of Lake Superior shoreline. For more information and to register visit the website.

Detroit Jazz Festival
August 30-31, 2013, Detroit
Come and enjoy the 34th annual Detroit Jazz Festival which occupies two million square feet of downtown Detroit from Hart Plaza on the riverfront, three blocks north to beautiful Campus Martius Park. Entertainment will be placed on stages throughout the space. For all the details click here.

Fifth Third Bank Michigan State Fair
August 30-21, 2013, Novi
Four days of State Fair excitement are bigger, better and more fun this year! One low price of admission includes the Shrine Circus, a carnival midway, live animals, and exhibits. For more information, call (248) 348 6942 or visit the website here.

Arts, Beats & Eats
August 31-September 3, 2013, Royal Oak
Art, Beats & Eats is Oakland County’s premier entertainment festival which draws nearly 400,000 people to experience more than 200 juried art exhibitors, 50 restaurants and 200 performances on 10 stages downtown Royal Oak. For more information call (248) 334-4600 or click here.

Annual Labor Day Mackinac Bridge Walk
September 2, 2013, Saint Ignace
Join thousands of walkers and make the five-mile trek across the Mighty Mackinac Bridge! Walkers can begin walking at 7 a.m. and can start up until 11 a.m. The annual trek across the 5-mile long Mackinac Bridge occurs on Labor Day, the only day of the year pedestrians are allowed on the bridge. Walkers begin in St. Ignace at the north end of the Bridge and walk south. The walk is one-way, and bus transportation is available to return you to St. Ignace until 2:30 p.m. You can also park your vehicle in the parking lot of the Little Bear East Arena and be shuttled to and from the start line for the bridge walk. For additional information, visit the website.

These are just a few of the many events happening next month in Pure Michigan. Please visit michigan.org for a complete listing.