EAST LANSING - The Summer Solstice means the longest day of the year, and what better way is there to spend this long day than by listening to the classic sounds of jazz.
In just a few short weeks, downtown East Lansing will be the scene of the 21st Annual Summer Solstice Jazz Festival. Every June, performers from across the country flock to Downtown East Lansing to share their music with thousands of eager attendees.
"One of the models of the festival is the soul of jazz in the heart of East Lansing. It's 14 hours of music, primarily jazz, but we touch on all of the genres as well as a few genres that butt up against jazz," says Festival Coordinator Benjamin Hall.
In his fourth year as coordinator, Hall has a single motto that he lives by: make the festival bigger and better each year. So, to celebrate over two decades of incredible music at this festival, he has decided to add a new category to the mix - smooth jazz. He hopes that the addition will increase attendance and give festival-goers a glimpse at different styles of jazz music.
The lineup is highlighted by performances from blues musician Laura Rain & the Caesers, the Kahil El Zabar & David Murray Duo, Orqueta Ritmo and local favorite Twyla Birdsong. Birdsong will be performing at this year's festival for the first time, and expressed her excitement to share her music with the familiar crowd of people in her hometown of Lansing.
For those interested in attending this year's festival, the performance stages will be located in downtown East Lansing at the Ann Street Plaza, Parking Lot 1 located off of Albert Ave., FieldHouse Sports Bar & Restaurant, and the Eli Broad Art Museum.