Fall in love with jazz for the first time—or all over again—at the fifth annual GRandJazzFest. West Michigan’s only free, weekend-long jazz festival is being held August 20 and 21, 2016, at Rosa Parks Circle in downtown Grand Rapids.
“Jazz is the Great American Art Form that’s been embraced the world over,” said Molly Kilmas, vice president of GR and Jazz. “There’s something universal about jazz that brings people together. Now, more than ever, we need events like GRandJazzFest that unite people for a love of music, community and each other.”
This year’s festival brings to the stage notable jazz performers as well as up-and-coming artists for diverse audiences. Scheduled to perform is the festival’s first female headliner, Cindy Bradley, a fabulous trumpeter based in New York City. Other performers to take the stage include Tim Bowman, Steve Hilger, Tumbao Bravo, Organissimo, Grand Rapids Jazz Orchestra with Edye Evans Hyde, Chris Standring, Walter White, Urban Jazz Coalition, Lakeshore Big Band and Bierenga-Sullivan Quintet.
The family-friendly event will host free face-painting for kids, an outdoor beverage area for attendees 21 and older, and food trucks. Additionally, the festival is a great time and place for supporting local businesses, dining at restaurants and pubs, and visiting other Grand Rapids locations.
The festival coincides with Restaurant Week in Grand Rapids, and many participating restaurants will have special deals. The B.O.B. will host an after party Saturday with a jazz jam session, $6 wood-fired pizzas, and a chance to win a $400 Gilmore Collection gift card; GRandJazzFest attendees who bring their program can get in without a cover charge. The Amway Grand Plaza Hotel is also offering a special rate for the weekend.
Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. has award GRandJazzFest with “Signature Event Status” for the second year in a row—a distinction that only two other events, ArtPrize and LaughFest, share in the city.
Bring some folding chairs or blankets and relax for a couple hours—or an entire weekend—at GRandJazzFest. Plan your visit online at grandjazzfest.org.
Photo courtesy of Christopher Wilson Photography.