The 6th annual GRandJazzFest presented by DTE Energy Foundation brings 11 diverse jazz performance acts to the Rosa Parks Circle stage this Aug. 19 and 20 in downtown Grand Rapids at West Michigan’s only free, weekend-long jazz festival. The sixth annual festival is expected to draw more than 10,000 people over the two days. GRandJazzFest 2017 also includes a Family Guitar Tent and guitar giveaways, free face painting for the kids (and kids at heart), a beverage area and VIP area provided by the Grand Rapids Art Museum, an After Party and more.
Holding the festival in the center city is by design, to enable festival-goers to take in all that downtown has to offer: restaurants, clubs, museums, microbreweries and shops. The festival occurs during Restaurant Week in Grand Rapids.
Grand Rapids Mayor Rosalynn Bliss has proclaimed August 2017 as Jazz Appreciation Month in the city. The proclamation notes that GRandJazzFest presented by DTE Energy Foundation was first held in August 2012 and has been held every August since, drawing thousands downtown for the free event.
Saxophonist Richard Elliot headlines the 6th annual GRandJazzFest presented by the DTE Energy Foundation. The complete performance lineup for the event in order of appearance:
SATURDAY, AUG. 19
- Grand Rapids Jazz Orchestra with Edye Evans Hyde, 12:30 p.m.
- Terry Lower / Jazz Expedition Sextet, 2 p.m.
- Ed Stone and the Flowmasters, 3:30 p.m.
- Tumbao Bravo, 5 p.m.
- Bryan Lubeck, 6:30 p.m.
- HEADLINER – Richard Elliot, 8 p.m.
SUNDAY, AUG. 20
- Jazz Student Band – Blushing Monk, 1 p.m.
- The Isaac Norris Project, 2:30 p.m.
- organissimo, 4 p.m.
- Four80East, 5:30 p.m.
- Nate Harasim & NILS featuring Brandon Willis, 7 p.m.
“We’re so excited for Richard Elliot to take the stage at Rosa Parks Circle – he’s a huge name in the jazz and R&B world and beyond – an exceptional musician and performer!” GRandJazzFest Founder Audrey Sundstrom said. “In addition to Richard, we have some incredibly diverse talent – jazz music for everyone, even those who think they don’t like jazz – plus additional activities for an amazing weekend of free entertainment for the entire family.”
Scotland-born, L.A.-based Elliot – called “the James Brown of Contemporary Jazz” – is among an eclectic array of jazz performers whose genres include big band, swing, straight-ahead, contemporary, Latin-Cuban and much more.
“The great thing about jazz is there are so many types. Our goal is to spread the love of jazz in all it forms,” Sundstrom said.
In addition to kicking off the festival as always with the acclaimed Grand Rapids Jazz Orchestra and Edye Evans Hyde performing vocals, several acts make return appearances at GRandJazzFest: Tumbao Bravo, organissimo, Nate Harasim and Bryan Lubeck. A student jazz band also will perform.
“GRandJazzFest is truly a hallmark event for the Grand Rapids community, and this year’s proclamation further demonstrates the value this event brings to the city – from boosting local businesses to drawing visitors downtown to enjoy world-class jazz music,” said Faye Nelson, vice president, DTE Energy, and president and board chair of the DTE Energy Foundation. “The DTE Energy Foundation’s support ensures this festival continues to enliven the community and provides people with free access to renowned music, arts and cultural activities that are integral to a strong quality of life.”