Michigan BluesFest 2015 Old Town
SEPTEMBER 18-19, 2015 | LANSING, MICHIGAN
Head to Old Town Lansing for the annual Michigan BluesFest on Sept. 18 & 19! The BluesFest is a two-day FREE music festival that brings national, regional and local acts to an audience of 5,000 – 7,000 people from across Michigan and nearby states. The festival is produced by the Michigan Institute for Contemporary Art and is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts, Michigan Council for Arts & Cultural Affairs, Ingham County and the Arts Council of Greater Lansing. More info at http://www.oldtownbluesfest.com/
Our headline act — “The Producers” Paul Brown, Nate Harasim and Deon Yates — just announced that emerging artist Melina will perform with them at GRandJazzFest. The San Antonio, Texas-based singer emerged on the national stage after several years of headlining festivals and clubs in her hometown. She brings pop, jazz, R&B, rock and gospel to performances.
“It’s always a thrill to discover new talent,” says Paul. “When it comes to vocalists, it’s rare to find someone like Melina … She sent me some of her early demos … I heard a little Linda Ronstadt and some Adele in a voice that’s seriously as big as Texas!”
We can’t wait for Melina to take the GRandJazzFest stage at 8 p.m. this Saturday night 2015,, Aug. 15, at Rosa Parks Circle in downtown Grand Rapids!
How to get to the fest, what to bring, special giveaways and contests and so much more! Read the August newsletter here.
GRANDJAZZFEST MEDIA RESOURCES: https://grandjazzfest.org/newsroom/media-resources/
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
GRandJazzFest organizers, performers ready for 4th annual festival presented by DTE Energy Foundation
Headliner adds emerging vocalist Melina from San Antonio to lineup
GRAND RAPIDS, MI – Aug. 11, 2015 –This Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 15 and 16, GRandJazzFest presented by DTE Energy Foundation brings 10 diverse jazz performance acts to the Rosa Parks Circle stage in downtown Grand Rapids at West Michigan’s only free, weekend-long jazz festival. The fourth annual festival is expected to draw 12,000 people over the two days.
“As part of our commitment to being a force for growth and prosperity in the communities where we live and serve, the DTE Energy Foundation is proud to sponsor GRandJazzFest, which brings together people from around Michigan for a celebration of arts and culture,” said Faye Nelson, vice president, Public Affairs, DTE Energy and president of the DTE Energy Foundation. “By investing in GRandJazzFest and other arts and cultural institutions that are integral to a strong quality of life, we’re helping to boost local economic development and the economic vitality of the region.”
“Economic development across our state is important to DTE,” said Mark Stiers, president and COO, DTE Gas. “We don’t simply talk about it; we take action. Each year, DTE invests millions of dollars in West Michigan by supporting local suppliers. GRandJazzFest is one more way for us to show our support for the region and the 400,000 customers we serve here.”
This year’s headline act brings together three internationally acclaimed musicians – Paul Brown and Nate Harasim with special guest Deon Yates – under the billing “The Producers.” Anchored by veteran contemporary guitarist and Grammy-Award-winner Paul Brown from California, the trio is high-energy jazz.
The headliners just announced that emerging artist Melina (http://www.melinamusic.net/) will perform with them at GRandJazzFest. The San Antonio, Texas-based singer emerged on the national stage after several years of headlining festivals and clubs in her hometown. She brings pop, jazz, R&B, rock and gospel to performances. Brown – who has worked with such jazz vocal greats as Luther Vandross, Al Jarreau, George Benson and Jonathan Butler – has helped to launch Melina’s career.
“It’s always a thrill to discover new talent,” Brown said. “When it comes to vocalists, it’s rare to find someone like Melina … She sent me some of her early demos … I heard a little Linda Ronstadt and some Adele in a voice that’s seriously as big as Texas.”
Harasim, a Grammy nominee and Soul Train Award recipient, is a composer, keyboardist and multi-instrumentalist from Michigan whose latest album, Rush, debuted on the Billboard charts at No. 17.
“This will be my first time performing at GRandJazzFest but I can tell you, the word is out in the jazz community that this festival is one of the best!” Harasim said.
Saxophonist Deon Yates returns to the Rosa Parks Circle stage – he performed at the 2013 festival – as a special guest of The Producers. After going solo in 2009, Detroit-based Yates is fast becoming one of the most sought-after emerging talents in jazz, recently signing with Woodward Avenue Records and set to launch a new album later this summer.
“It’s an amazing event that brings all kinds of people together for the love of great music. I can’t wait to perform again at GRandJazzFest!” Yates said.
Nine additional artists and bands perform over the course of the free two-day festival, bringing all kinds of jazz music to the Rosa Parks Circle stage, including big band, swing, Latin, Afro-Cuban, straight-ahead and more. Local favorites Walt Gutowski & The Bridge Street Band, Grupo Ayé and Grand Rapids Jazz Orchestra with Edye Evans Hyde will perform, as will Steve Cole, Mike Frost Project 2.0, Bryan Lubeck, Big Band Nouveau, Michael Manson, Brian Simpson and Jackiem Joyner. The complete schedule and performer bios are at https://grandjazzfest.org/.
“This will be my first time in Grand Rapids, so I couldn’t be more thrilled about performing at this exciting festival,” Keyboardist Brian Simpson said. He will perform on stage with Joyner, an acclaimed saxophonist. “Both Jackiem and I like to bring our music ‘to the people,’ and we’re anticipating tremendous support of what this great city and the sponsors have been so generous to provide … free jazz!”
2015 performer Bryan Lubeck concurs. “For an artist, it’s not just about the money – we love to play, and play for great crowds. Each festival has a personality of its own, and word travels fast among musicians … I heard this was a festival you ‘didn’t want to miss’ – then I got the call to play and thought WOW!” said Lubeck, a Spanish guitarist who performs at GRandJazzFest on Sunday. “I can’t wait to play for this crowd … the audience, that’s what it’s all about, and I’ve heard this audience is amazing. Music is a two-way communication and the better the audience, the better musicians play … this festival brings the best of both worlds together and creates magic. I also love the variety – no matter what styles you like, the lineup assures you’ll walk away whistling a new favorite tune!”
In addition to performing, Lubeck and sponsors Godin and Cordoba guitar companies will be hosting a Family Guitar Tent at GRandJazzFest where people can try out difference types of guitars and enter a drawing to win a free guitar at the festival.
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 2015 is a FREE weekend-long event that runs Saturday, Aug. 15, from noon until 10 p.m., and Sunday, Aug. 16, from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m., featuring jazz artists who are primarily Michigan-based. GRandJazzFest brings together notable jazz performers as well as highlights emerging 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.
About the DTE Energy Foundation
The DTE Energy Foundation is the philanthropic arm of DTE Energy, continuing the legacy of community support and involvement of its electric and natural gas utilities, which serve 2.1 million electric customers in Southeast Michigan and 1.2 million natural gas customers across Michigan. As one of Michigan’s leading corporate citizens, DTE Energy is a force for growth and prosperity in the 450 Michigan communities it serves in a variety of ways, including philanthropy, volunteerism and economic progress. http://www.dteenergy.com/foundation.
Festival organizers announce schedule, have more in store for 4th annual GRandJazzFest presented by DTE Energy Foundation
GRAND RAPIDS, MI – JULY 29, 2015 – GRandJazzFest presented by DTE Energy Foundation brings 10 diverse jazz performance acts to the Rosa Parks Circle stage in downtown Grand Rapids this Aug. 15-16 at West Michigan’s only free, weekend-long jazz festival.
The schedule is posted on GRandJazzFest’s brand-new website at https://grandjazzfest.org/.
This year’s headline act brings together three internationally acclaimed musicians – Paul Brown and Nate Harasim with special guest Deon Yates – under the billing “The Producers.” Nine additional artists and bands perform over the course of the free two-day festival, bringing all kinds of jazz music to the Rosa Parks Circle stage. The performers were announced April 29 on the eve of International Jazz Day.
In addition to the music, organizers are excited to announce new opportunities for fun at this year’s festival.
“The fourth annual GRandJazzFest has something for everyone – a Family Guitar Tent, free face painting for the kids, an After Party at The B.O.B., not to mention all kinds of jazz music. Best of all, GRandJazzFest is free – and the ability to keep the festival free and expand it to include additional activities is thanks to our generous sponsors,” GRandJazzFest Founder Audrey Sundstrom said
Since the festival’s inception, DTE Energy Foundation has been the presenting sponsor.
“GRandJazzFest is one of the most diverse and well-attended events in West Michigan. As a major event, it has established its own name on the jazz scene in Michigan and the Midwest,” DTE Energy Regional Manager Roger Royer said. “DTE Energy Foundation is proud to support the diversity and vibrancy that GRandJazzFest brings to downtown. We’ve been so pleased with the past three GRandJazzFests and look forward to the fourth annual event!”
More than 10,000 people attended the 2014 festival.
The City of Grand Rapids named GRandJazzFest one of its City-co-sponsored events in 2013, the festival’s second year. It’s been a co-sponsor ever since.
Recently, GRandJazzFest along with ArtPrize was recently named a Signature Event by Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. (DGRI) for having wide appeal and attracting significant numbers of people to downtown. The events “include aspects that provide a significant public benefit to the community,” DGRI said. (To learn more, read the DGRI memo: https://grandjazzfest.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/DDA-05-Signature-Event-Sponsorships-1.pdf.)
Here’s what’s in store for this year’s GRandJazzFest in addition to the 10 jazz performance acts over two days:
Family Guitar Tent and drawing for two guitars
A special guitar tent will be stocked with guitars provided by the Godin and Cordoba guitar companies where people can learn about guitars and try them out. GRandJazzFest performing artist Bryan Lubeck will be there between shows to meet and greet, do demonstrations and give some tips and tricks – all ages and skill levels can drop by and try out a guitar for the first time or even jam if experienced. Godin and Cordoba are each donating a guitar for which GRandJazzFest attendees can enter a drawing for them at the tent. Drawings will take place on Saturday and Sunday during the festival and the winners must be present to win.
Free face painting for the kids
The kids can get their faces painted for free by Fancy Faces. This year, there will be two face-painting artists at Rosa Parks Circle.
The B.O.B. hosts a GRandJazzFest After Party
Gilmore Collection is one of GRandJazzFest’s major sponsors and Gilmore Collection venue The B.O.B. – just a block away from Rosa Parks Circle – hosts a GRandJazzFest After Party on Saturday, Aug. 15. The fun starts after the last performance act at Rosa Parks Circle ends its set (around 10 p.m.). On tap at The B.O.B. will be some food and drink specials, a chance to win a dining tour of the nine Gilmore Collection restaurants (a $400 value) and a jam session with the Mike Frost Project 2.0 band.
Bike racks and cold bottled water for those who pedal to the fest
Bike racks provided by the Greater Grand Rapids Bicycle Coalition will be at the Rosa Parks Circle venue so bike riders can stow and self-lock their bikes. Bike riders will receive a ticket for a free bottle of water from the main festival tent when they stow their bike at the corral. Those who are riding bikes can check out these links for helpful info:
Get there early
Festival organizers recommend getting there early – especially if you love big band music. Grand Rapids Jazz Orchestra with Edye Evans Hyde kicks off the festival, which starts at noon on Saturday, Aug. 15. The festival continues with all kinds of jazz – Latin, contemporary, straight ahead and more – going until about 10 p.m. that night. The festival continues Sunday, Aug. 16, starting at 1 p.m. with more big band style music by Big Band Nouveau and an array of other diverse acts and jazz styles. On Sunday the festival goes until about 7 p.m. Download the complete 2015 GRandJazzFest schedule at https://grandjazzfest.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/2015-GRandJazzFest-Handbill.pdf.
Plan your visit
If you’re coming from out of town – or even if you’re from West Michigan – here are some links to plan your visit:
Plus, it’s Restaurant Week during GRandJazzFest! Learn more about Restaurant Week at http://www.experiencegr.com/restaurants/restaurant-week/.
What to bring
Bring lawn chairs, mini-coolers if you want, and sunscreen – the venue is a sunny, open area with some shady areas around the perimeter. The fest’s main tent will have bottled water for sale, and there are plenty of places surrounding Rosa Parks Circle to grab a quick bite and beverage.
Also: Bring your smart phone if you have one – GRandJazzFest has launched a new website that automatically “optimizes” to mobile phones and tablets, which makes it easy to find the fest schedule and more.
Make a weekend of it!
The Amway Grand Plaza Hotel – also a GRandJazzFest sponsor – is offering a special GRandJazzFest rate of $149/night available for Friday, Aug. 14, Saturday, Aug. 15, and Sunday, Aug. 16. Fest-goers are encouraged to book their rooms before they’re gone – there are a number of other events occurring in Grand Rapids the same weekend. Book with the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel at http://bit.ly/1MgfuZA.
View all of GRandJazzFest’s sponsors and friends at https://grandjazzfest.org/sponsors/.
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 2015 is a FREE weekend-long event that runs Saturday, Aug. 15, from noon until 10 p.m., and Sunday, Aug. 16, from 1 p.m. to 8 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.
FUN NEWS!!! GRandJazzFest presented by DTE Energy Foundation is excited to announce the addition of a Family Guitar Tent sponsored by Godin and Cordoba guitars at the 2015 fest where people can try out different types of guitars and meet GRandJazzFest performer and Spanish guitarist Bryan Lubeck. Kids and families can visit the tent in between musical acts to learn about guitars, jam-meet the artist and put their name in for a drawing for a guitar – there will be two drawings and winners will be announced on Saturday and Sunday of the festival. The winners must be present to win. Thank you to Bryan and to Cordoba Guitars and Godin Guitars (OFFICIAL) for bringing this opportunity to GRandJazzFest!
Join the After Party!
Keep the jazz love going by stopping by The B.O.B. – just a block away from Rosa Parks Circle – for the GRandJazzFest After Party on Saturday, Aug. 15! On tap are food and drink specials, a chance to win a dining tour of the nine Gilmore Collection restaurants (a $400 value) and a jam session with the Mike Frost Project 2.0 band. The After Party begins after our last performance act of Aug. 15 wraps up — probably around 10 p.m.
Make a GRand Weekend of it! The Amway Grand Plaza Hotel is offering a special GRandJazzFest rate of $149/night available for Friday, Aug. 14, Saturday, Aug. 15, and Sunday, Aug. 16. It’s a great rate in an ideal location just steps away from GRandJazzFest at Rosa Parks Circle. Book your room before they’re gone — there are a number of other events going on in Grand Rapids the same weekend! Book your visit with the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel by clicking here.