The seventh incarnation of
Jazzin' on Jefferson
returns -- this year for two days -- June 26 and 27.
If people flock to the festival for the stellar music lineup alone, that's just dandy, according to Joshua Elling, executive director of Jefferson East Business Association
(JEBA), the festival's presenting organization. But there's more to the story.
"We believe festivals can be important economic development tools," he says, with the following stats to back up the notion: Since Jazzin' began, the district has seen 50 facade improvements, a decline in the commercial corridor's vacancy rate by 10 percent and more than 10 new businesses.
What's the correlation? Part of the answer is simply the ripple effects of bringing people to the area en masse -- 20,000 attended last year, and organizers are planning for double that this year -- and letting them see for themselves the neighborhood's historic and modern housing amenities, chain and independent retailers, and 140 acres of riverfront parks. Also worth noting is that this year's proceeds will directly fund the establishment of a community-owned security patrol.
Attendees will be able to preview the H&H Marketplace Bazaar, a retail incubator set to open this summer in an adaptively reused two-story building at 14522 E. Jefferson. Three other major developments are poised to pop in the area as well, including a mixed-use renovation of three apartment buildings that will ultimately result in 47 loft-style apartments and 17,000 square feet of retail, the development of a 100-unit independent senior living complex and a group of artists setting up shop in the former Platte Motor Building.
Jazzin' on Jefferson will take place Saturday, June 26, and Sunday, June 27, from noon to 9 p.m. on a closed-off section of East Jefferson between Chalmers and Alter. Headliners include Joe Krown Trio! and the Hot Club of Detroit. Other performers include the Thornetta Davis Band, Marion Hayden & the Detroit Legacy Band and Sky Covington & Trio. Sunday will feature outdoor church service and an emphasis on gospel to "celebrate the rich spiritual history of the lower east side," says Elling.
Other festival features include the Target Kids Zone, a 5-on-5 Basketball Tournament, Detroit Artist Gallery and over 30 food and retail vendors.
Source: Joshua Elling, JEBA
Writer: Kelli B. Kavanaugh