GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. – April 18, 2018 – GRandJazzFest presented by the DTE Energy Foundation returns to Rosa Parks Circle in downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan, this Aug. 18 and 19, for the seventh annual festival. The popular family-friendly festival is West Michigan’s only free, weekend-long jazz festival.
The two-day festival will be free again thanks to Presenting Sponsor the DTE Energy Foundation, as well as the City of Grand Rapids and other sponsoring organizations, individuals and volunteers. GRandJazzFest typically draws thousands to the heart of downtown Grand Rapids for the two-day, outdoor event always held the third weekend in August. In 2017, the event drew more than 10,000 people.
“We’re so excited to have the DTE Energy Foundation back for the seventh consecutive year as our presenting sponsor. We could not put on this festival without its support, and the support of all of our generous sponsors and volunteers. Jazz is really about bringing people together. It’s about community. And we’re grateful to the people and organizations that show their love of community by supporting GRandJazzFest,” festival founder Audrey Sundstrom said.
Holding the festival in the center city allows festivalgoers to enjoy all that downtown offers including restaurants, clubs, museums, microbreweries and shops. The festival typically occurs during Restaurant Week in Grand Rapids. The festival’s location is easily accessible to those who ride the bus, walk or bike, and is close to parking.
“We believe art and cultural events have a direct correlation to a city’s ability to attract new visitors, define a sense of place and community, and contribute to the development of local skills and industries,” said Lynette Dowler, president of the DTE Energy Foundation. “The Grand Rapids community is extremely important to us and we’re proud to be presenting sponsor again. By investing in this hallmark event, the DTE Energy Foundation is helping to boost the local economy and strengthen the vitality of the region.”
The 2018 festival lineup will be revealed on April 30 at the House of Entertainment and Music (H.O.M.E.) at The B.O.B. in Grand Rapids. Doors open at 6 p.m. The Steve Hilger Jazz Quintet will perform during the evening’s event, which will announce the 10 diverse jazz artists and bands – including a student jazz band and two major headline acts – slated for the 2018 GRandJazzFest. Hilger’s band has performed at past GRandJazzFests, and he also serves as a board member of GR and Jazz.
“Jazz is a year-round passion here in West Michigan. We’re excited about a fun evening and a great way to reveal our 2018 lineup to jazz fans on April 30,” Hilger said.
Festival organizers have coordinated with International Jazz Day leaders to include the 2018 GRandJazzFest announcement as a sanctioned International Jazz Day event. Grand Rapids city commissioners announced GRandJazzFest as one of the city’s 2018 signature events, a distinction only given to local events proven to be successful and that enrich the community. Previously, GRandJazzFest 2016 received distinction as a Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. Signature Event along with two other festivals, ArtPrize and LaughFest.
GR and Jazz, the nonprofit, all-volunteer-run producer of GRandJazzFest, is pleased to once again announce a special collaboration with the Grand Rapids Art Museum (GRAM). The 2018 festival’s V.I.P. area, which is open to sponsors, will be located on the GRAM front terrace where refreshments and snacks will be provided. Additionally, an outdoor bar will be set up at the base of the GRAM’s front steps adjoining Rosa Parks Circle to offer refreshments for attendees to enjoy during the festival.
The 2018 GRandJazzFest sponsors to date are Presenting Sponsor the DTE Energy Foundation; Diamond Sponsors the City of Grand Rapids, GR and Jazz and IntentPR; Silver Sponsors Corporate Live and GRAM; Bronze Sponsors Experience Grand Rapids, The Gerber Foundation, Gilmore Collection, Icon Sign, Lake Michigan Credit Union, Matt Huizenga Video Producer, Mercy Health Saint Mary’s, MoxieMen and Steelcase; and Friends-level Sponsors Blue Lake Public Radio, Comcast, Configura, Dickinson Wright, Fancy Faces, Grand Rapids Community College, Grandville Family Dental, Terri Land and Dan Hibma, Meijer, Michigan First Credit Union, Swift Printing & Communications and WGVU.
“We’re still seeking additional sponsors to help us bring a full weekend of free, family-friendly live jazz performances to West Michigan!” Sundstrom said. Those interested in sponsorship opportunities can find information at http://grandjazzfest.org/sponsors/.
People can get a taste of past GRandJazzFests by viewing the recap videos at http://grandjazzfest.org/newsroom/video/. More information on the 7th annual GRandJazzFest presented by DTE Energy Foundation can be found at www.grandjazzfest.org. Connect on social media on the festival’s Facebook and Twitter sites, www.facebook.com/grandjazzfest and www.twitter.com/grandjazzfest.
GRandJazzFest presented by the 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 2018 is a FREE weekend-long event that runs Saturday, Aug. 18, from noon until 10 p.m., and Sunday, Aug. 19, from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m., featuring notable jazz artists, including many who are Michigan-based. GRandJazzFest brings together acclaimed 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 2.2 million electric customers in Southeast Michigan and 1.3 million natural gas customers in Michigan. In 2017, the DTE Energy Foundation provided $18 million in grant support to nonprofits throughout the company’s service territories. 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.