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Fifth annual jazz festival coming to Rosa Parks Circle

This dispatch was added by one of our Nonprofit Neighbors. It does not represent the editorial voice of The Rapidian or Community Media Center.

On Saturday, August 20, 2016 from 12 p.m. - 10 p.m. and Sunday, August 21, 2016 from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m., jazz musicians of all kinds will perform at the free festival.
Saxophonist, Jackiem Joyner

Saxophonist, Jackiem Joyner /Christopher Wilson

Underwriting support from:

Tips for Fest-goers

Cost: FREE!
When: Saturday, Aug. 20, from 12 p.m. - 10 p.m., and Sunday, Aug. 21, from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Where: Rosa Parks Circle in downtown Grand Rapids

More information at:


What to bring

Bring lawn chairs and sunscreen – the venue is a sunny, open area with some shady areas around the perimeter. The fest’s main tent will have cold bottled water for sale. Plus, the adjacent Grand Rapids Art Museum’s outdoor area will be featuring a special refreshment area and two food trucks. And there are plenty of places surrounding Rosa Parks Circle to grab a quick bite and beverage. Plus, it’s Restaurant Week during GRandJazzFest.

Make a weekend of it!
The Amway Grand Plaza Hotel is offering special rates the weekend of GRandJazzFest. Book a stay with the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel at

Free face painting for the kids

Face-painting artists will be at Rosa Parks Circle during GRandJazzFest where kids can get their faces painted for free by Fancy Faces!

Join the After Party!

The B.O.B. – just a block away from Rosa Parks Circle – hosts a GRandJazzFest After Party on Saturday, Aug. 20, after the headline act wraps up at Rosa Parks Circle. Steve Hilger and other jazz performers welcome all for a jazz jam session. The party takes place in The B.O.B.’s Brewery, located on the lower level. Get into The B.O.B. with no cover charge by bringing a GRandJazzFest event program. Special meal deals and a gift-card giveaway as well as craft brews are on tap for the evening.

Audience enjoying GRandJazzFest

Audience enjoying GRandJazzFest /Courtesy of GRandJazzFest

Children having fun with free face painting at GRandJazzFest

Children having fun with free face painting at GRandJazzFest /Courtesy of GRandJazzFest

Jazz has been called “the art of expression set to music” and “the great American art form.”

Experience the art of jazz in all its forms and genres this weekend, August 20 and 21, at the fifth annual GRandJazzFest presented by DTE Energy Foundation.

The two-day festival held at Rosa Parks Circle in downtown Grand Rapids is free thanks to the presenting sponsor and many other sponsors, supporters and volunteers who help to produce this community event. Slated to attract at least 10,000 people, GRandJazzFest has become West Michigan’s largest and only free weekend-long jazz festival.

“The DTE Energy Foundation is proud to sponsor GRandJazzFest, which brings together people from across Michigan and the region for a celebration of great music,” said Faye Nelson, vice president, DTE Energy, and president and board chair 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 in the communities where we live and serve.

GRandJazzFest brings 11 diverse jazz performance acts to the Rosa Parks Circle stage:

  • Saturday night headliner / main headline act: Cindy Bradley

  • Sunday night headliner: Chris Standring

  • Grand Rapids Jazz Orchestra with Edye Evans Hyde

  • Organissimo  

  • Tumbao Bravo

  • Steve Hilger  

  • Tim Bowman

  • Student Showcase band – Bierenga-Sullivan Quintet

  • Lakeshore Big Band

  • Urban Jazz Coalition

  • Walter White

This year’s headline act is a first for GRandJazzFest – a woman headlining the popular festival. The New York City-based trumpeter Cindy Bradley performs Saturday night, August 20. The Sunday-night headliner is Chris Standring, a guitarist from Los Angeles who brings high-energy contemporary jazz to the stage.

In addition to kicking off the festival as always with the acclaimed Grand Rapids Jazz Orchestra and Edye Evans Hyde performing vocals, two other acts make a return appearance at GRandJazzFest: Tim Bowman and Steve Hilger. Detroit-based guitarist Bowman headlined the inaugural GRandJazzFest in 2012. Grand Rapids-based Hilger, also a guitarist, performed in 2012 with The Steve Hilger Jazz Quintet.

Throughout the two-day weekend is an eclectic array of jazz performances for all audiences – from big band to straight-ahead, Latin, urban and more.

“GRandJazzFest will have something for everyone! We’re talking all kinds of jazz music plus dancing, face painting for the kids and much more! Best of all, GRandJazzFest is a free event that brings people together!” said GRandJazzFest Founder Audrey Sundstrom.

Sundstrom started the festival in 2012 in response to a challenge from her husband, Greg Sundstrom, city manager of the City of Grand Rapids. “Greg and I had been going to jazz festivals for years, and I always said, ‘Why doesn’t Grand Rapids – the second largest city in the state of Michigan – have a jazz festival?’ And Greg said, ‘Audrey, how about if you put on a festival?!’ And it grew from there.”

More information on GRandJazzFest can be found at, and at the festival’s Facebook and Twitter sites – and

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