EAST LANSING, Mich. — The 2018 Summer Solstice Jazz Festival (SSJF) will bring local, regional and national jazz acts to the heart of downtown East Lansing for a two-day, free festival that is not to be missed. This year’s festival will take place June 22-23 from 4-11 p.m. both days.
Due to construction in downtown East Lansing, festival goers should note that the festival site layout has changed this year. The Founders' Stage (main stage) will be located in the Bailey Parking Lot, 139 Bailey St., and the Education Stage will be located adjacent to the Albert-Division intersection.
This year’s Friday night headliner is the Lansing Symphony Big Band with Benny Benack III and the Saturday night headliners are Gathering Orchestra with Rene Marie & Saxophonist Steve Wilson and Orquesta Ritmo. Other 2018 performers include Sunny Wilkinson, Baldori and Migliazzi, JAMM Scholarship Quartet, The Chris Glassman Quartet, OC Jazz Collective, Root Doctor, Phil Denny, Barbara Ware, the Detroit Jazz Festival Generations Band, BBSYM Orchestra, Shadakeon, Thornetta Davis and Deon Yates. The schedule of performances can be found here: https://www.eljazzfest.com/193/2018-Performer-Line-up. The performer bios can be found here: https://www.eljazzfest.com/217/2018-Performer-Bios.
In addition to the live music, there will be a children’s activities area on the east side of the Bailey Parking Lot. From 4-8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, the East Lansing Public Library will be hosting a variety of activities, including crafts, games and a story walk. There will also be face painting by Susan Schutes from 6-8 p.m. both days. From 4-8 p.m. on Saturday, Impression 5 Science Center will be hosting a variety of fun activities for children.
Adjacent to the Education Stage, there will also be a live art demonstration by local artist Julian Van Dyke and a silent auction for an art piece donated by the family of James Brian McFarland – a local painter who lived in East Lansing most of his life and passed away unexpectedly in 2017. Over the course of ten years, McFarland painted more than 350 paintings on a variety of canvas, using brilliant colors, scraping tools and brushes to mix, combine and spread acrylic paint. His artwork expresses his love of nature and depicts what he saw during his travels to Colorado, Bonaire and Jamaica. The artwork up for bid at the festival was created by McFarland and Van Dyke.
The SSJF is presented by the City of East Lansing and Michigan State University College of Music, with artistic direction by Rodney Whitaker. Major sponsors of this year’s festival include the MSU Office of the Provost, MSU University Outreach and Engagement, Greg Hill & Lois Mummaw and the MSU Federal Credit Union.
Community members can learn more about the festival at www.eljazzfest.com.