Detroit Hosts World’s Largest Free Jazz Festival Labor Day Weekend – Opportunity Detroit

Detroit Hosts World’s Largest Free Jazz Festival Labor Day Weekend

Dance away summer this Labor Day Weekend at Detroit Jazz Festival presented by Quicken Loans! The world’s largest free jazz festival is celebrating its 38th year and is taking over Woodward Ave. from Campus Martius to Hart Plaza. Over 100 hometown artists will take the stage this Labor Day weekend for four days of music running from September 1- 4.

The Roots

Chris Collins, the president and artistic director of the Detroit Jazz Festival Foundation, stated that “Detroit Jazz Festival is not just a jazz festival in Detroit…it IS Detroit. Few cities can brag about the symbiotic relationship that jazz has with Detroit. It’s absorbed in the environment. [Jazz] is in our DNA and in our blood in the city.” Founded in 1980, the Jazz Festival was created to provide an opportunity for the people of Detroit to experience jazz and art education. The free event has become an investment for the city with sponsorships from local businesses who want to grow the culture, and bring people to the city.

The Tunes

Sharing about how the lineup was chosen, Collins said, “Every year the lineup is completely unique. I start with a blank slate. My theme is always great jazz, historic significance, with creative energy.” Focusing on young, up and coming acts, this year’s festival will appeal to fans of all ages.

Music will take place on four different stages scattered throughout the festival, with bands such as Herbie Hancock, Theo Croker Quintet, and the Akihiro Nishiguchi Trio. The music begins Friday, September 1 at 6:30 p.m. and will conclude at 10:15 p.m. If you still want some more music, head to the Detroit Marriott Hotel at the Renaissance Center for a Hometown Jam session running from 11:00 p.m. – 1:30 a.m. Saturday and Sunday’s lineup begins earlier at 11:30 a.m. with late shows at the RenCen until 12:15 a.m. On Monday, the Detroit Public Schools Community All-City Jazz Combo will kick off at 11:45 a.m. and Emanon will close the festival with the final performance concluding at 8:15 p.m.

Check out the full lineup and schedule so you do not miss your favorites!

The Talks

In between performances head to the Mack Avenue Records Jazz Talk Tent for talks from your favorite artists. The tent will feature interviews, panel discussions, and book presentations from the authors. Meet and hear from artists such as Kamasi Washington, T.K. Blue and Johnny O’Neal. Check out the full schedule to not miss out on the unique history of the festival, musicians, and the history of Jazz.

The Road

Take a quick ride on the QLine and get off near the Spirit of Detroit plaza for the closest access to all that the festival has to offer. For more information, visit

In addition, a Lyft transportation station is located at the corner of Michigan and Griswold. Check out the complete festival map to help plan your day.

Can’t make it to the festival? Thanks to the Doris Duke Foundation, the festival is offering Detroit Jazz Festival Live, allowing Jazz fans around North America to stream the festival for $10 for the entire weekend. Watch all four stages live all fours days from the comfort of your own home.

Put your dancing shoes on and head to Hart Plaza this Labor Day weekend. Please tell us about your festival experience and who your favorite acts were! Don’t forget to tag #detroitjazzfest on your favorite social media channels!


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