Summer Solstice Jazz Festival to bring HOT SOUNDS this weekend!

The 18th Annual Summer Solstice Jazz Festival (SSJF) will make its way to downtown East Lansing on June 21-22 featuring a high-caliber ensemble of local, regional and national jazz performers. The festival is presented by the City of East Lansing, Wharton Center for Performing Arts and the MSU College of Music.

This FREE-to-the-community festival is centered around a large tent located in the heart of downtown East Lansing in Parking Lot 1 (230 Albert Ave.) on the corner of Albert Avenue and Abbot Road.

The SSJF features main stage performances, the Jazz Kids children’s activity area, on-site food, jazz cafes, the new MSU Outreach and Engagement  Education Stage and After Glow performances.

Visit to learn more.

2014 Performer Lineup

The 2014 performer lineup features the finest in local, regional and national musical talent  including Neil Gordon, Diego Rivera, Benny Benack III, Orquesta Ritmo, Thornetta Davis, Planet D Nonet, The Lowdown Brass Band, Sunny Wilkinson, Layers, Michael Dease, Root Doctor and Aguanko. The festival also features headliners Cecile McLorin Salvant and the Airmen of NoteCécile McLorin Salvant performs unique interpretations of unknown and scarcely?recorded jazz and blues compositions. Cécile’s “WomanChild” was nominated for the 2014 GRAMMY Award for Best Jazz Vocal Album. Cécile has performed with Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra in New York’s Lincoln Center; Chicago’s Symphony Center; theKennedy Center; and the Detroit Jazz Festival.

The Airmen of Note are the premier jazz ensemble of the United States Air Force. They were assembled in 1950 to carry on the tradition of Major Glenn Miller’s Army Air Corps dance band, and is one of the last touring big bands. They have collaborated with many jazz luminaries, such as Dizzy Gillespie, Joe Williams, Sarah Vaughan and Nancy Wilson.

MSU Outreach and Engagement Education Stage

This performance area will give local high school and young up-and-coming jazz musicians an opportunity to perform on stage at a major jazz festival. The 2014 performers are ; Participants of the MSU Jazz Studies Big Band Symposium, The JAMM Scholarship Quartet featuring James Heinlein, The LCC Jazz Band, and The East Lansing High School Jazz Band. Click here to see the Education Stage schedule.


Jazz Kids Brings Family Fun

Families will love the hands-on, interactive children’s area coordinated by Wharton Center Inner Circle volunteers. The Jazz Kids family area will offer a number of jazz-inspired activities for kids of all ages. Kids can make Mardi Gras beaded necklaces, shakers, dance ribbons and other fun activities. The East Lansing Public Library and the Broad Art Museum will also offer jazzy activities.

In addition, children can play at the Impression 5 Science Center bubble table, paint at easel stations and participate in a variety of other activities.

Afterglows Feature Late-Night Encore Performances

After we zip up the Big Tent for the night…the party continues with an intimate jazz bistro performance at Peppino’s 213 Ann St., from 10:45 pm – 12:30 am. Join us on Friday, June 20 for Layers  and Saturday, June 21 for The Michael Dease Big Band

NEW! Kozmic Picnik and Second Line Parade

At 1pm on Saturday June 21 join us in the Sculpture Garden of the Broad Art Museum (547 East Circle Drive) for the Kozmic Picnik. Bring a picnic basket and enjoy a tribute to avante garde jazz artist Sun Ra, played by Detroit’s own Planet D Nonet.

At 2:30pm,iImmediately following the Kozmic Picnik, will be a Second Line Parade with the Lowdown Brass Band, (Procession from Sculpture Garden to Ann Street Plaza).The second-line parade is a New Orleans tradition where participants follow the grand marshal and brass band while dancing, handing out beads and  twirling parasols. The entire community is invited! Costumes are encouraged!

Like SSJF on Facebook!

Check out the Summer Solstice Jazz Festival Facebook page! Click “like” to show your love and follow the festival.


The festival is produced by the City of East Lansing, Wharton Center for Performing Arts and the MSU College of Music, with artistic direction by Rodney Whitaker. The SSJF is a non-profit event that relies on the generosity of sponsors to bring FREE-to-the-community performances to more than 10,000 community members each year. A special thank you to our top sponsors: MSU Outreach and Engagement,  Liquid Web and MSU Federal Credit Union.

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