Second annual sees attendance near 10,000 for two-day free event
GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. – Sept. 17, 2013 – GRandJazzFest presented by DTE Energy Foundation wrapped up its free, two-day festival Aug. 17 and 18 with estimates of 9,000 to 10,000 people filling Rosa Parks Circle in downtown Grand Rapids over the course of two days.
“We’re delighted with the turnout,” GRandJazzFest Founder Audrey Sundstrom said. “Saturday was extremely well-attended – by the time our headliner took the stage, people were spilling onto Monroe Center and we had to close the street to make room. Sunday also saw great crowds and affirmed our decision to expand to two days.”
The inaugural GRandJazzFest in 2012 was a single-day event. Organizers made the decision after the success of the first event to expand to two days.
“Beautiful weather, a welcoming city, a responsive crowd, dedicated volunteers and world-class entertainment – it was a recipe for a wonderful 2013 GRandJazzFest, and I can’t wait to start planning for 2014,” DTE Energy Foundation’s Roger Royer said.
The dates for 2014 will be announced soon.
In addition to DTE Energy Foundation, major sponsors included the City of Grand Rapids, the Downtown Development Authority, GR and Jazz, IntentPR, Gilmore Collection, Hilger Hammond, SuperHits 810, WGVU, Amway Hotel Corporation, Consumers Energy, Experience Grand Rapids, Ferris State University, Fifth Third Bank, Grand Rapids Kent County Convention and Arena Authority, Meijer, Mercy Health, MikeJuly.com, Phase 2 Investment Advisors, Wege Foundation, West Michigan Jazz Society and others (view a complete list).
Ten diverse professional jazz performance acts took to the Rosa Parks stage over the two days as well as student jazz performers from Northview High School and Michigan State University. In addition to headliner Chicago guitarist/vocalist Nick Colionne, artists included saxophonist Deon Yates, The Paul Keller AT SUNDOWN Quintet featuring Sarah D’Angelo, Sheila Landis & Brazilian Love Affair, The Kinsey Report, Randy Marsh Organ Trio featuring Chris Moberley and Rick Hicks, and Mind’s Eye. Performers returning from GRandJazzFest 2012 included Lansing-based saxophonist Phil Denny and the homegrown Grand Rapids Jazz Orchestra (GRJO). Popular local vocalist Edye Evans Hyde returned to perform with GRJO and also performed with her own band at the festival. Eighty-percent of the performers were Michigan-based.
WZZM13 Take Five Producer Eddie Rucker served as emcee.
Attendees included music lovers and jazz aficionados of all ages and ethnicities.
“The diversity of the crowd was a great representation of Grand Rapids. We’re just a great city,” Sundstrom said.
In addition to Grand Rapidians and West Michiganders, attendees came from Detroit, Chicago, Traverse City, Toronto and points beyond.
“The word is spreading that we’re a jazz festival to put on the calendar,” Sundstrom said.
More than 70 community volunteers and local businesses helped to organize and put on the event, which was produced by “GR and Jazz,” a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization based in Grand Rapids.
GRandJazzFest occurred during Experience Grand Rapids’ highly successful Restaurant Week. By design, GRandJazzFest organizers encouraged festival-goers to enjoy the downtown Grand Rapids scene by enjoying a dinner or other refreshment in between sets.
“We felt the impact of GRandJazzFest this year,” said a representative of San Chez Bistro located on Fulton.
An employee of the Dog Pit on Monroe Center said, “This was a great event for us! The business was great. I hope they do it again next year.”
View photos from the 2013 GRandJazzFest on Flickr at http://www.flickr.com/photos/grandjazzfest/.
GRandJazzFest presented by DTE Energy Foundation is a community event of the nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization “GR and Jazz” founded in 2012, with the purpose of promoting and bringing awareness of jazz and related arts to new and diverse audiences through educational programs and community events. GRandJazzFest 2013 is a FREE weekend-long event that runs Saturday, Aug. 17, from noon until 10 p.m., and Sunday, Aug. 18, from noon p.m. to 7 p.m., featuring jazz artists who are primarily Michigan-based. 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, where attendees can enjoy music, support local businesses and visit other Grand Rapids attractions. The festival is FREE. More information at www.grandjazzfest.org.