It looks like summer is finally here in Michigan. (I’m crossing my fingers and knocking on wood even as I type this.) Now that we can go outside without fear of windchill or hail storms, it’s time to start making summer plans. City Pulse has put together some of the best local (and not-so-local) summer events to keep you entertained all summer long.
Greater Lansing features a variety of summer festivals and activities. From car shows to concerts to cultural events, there’s an excuse to get outside almost every weekend this summer. Here is a list of some of the region’s biggest summer events:
JUNE 4 >> BE A TOURIST IN YOUR OWN TOWN It only takes a dollar to get in on Lansing’s Be A Tourist In Your Own Town. Enjoy unique tours, fun activities and one-day discounts at a variety of destinations. This year’s event includes 53 businesses throughout Lansing and East Lansing. Pick up a passport for $1 anytime throughout the month of May. Collect stamps on your passport at each location you visit to enter a prize drawing. Call or see the web for participating locations and passport selling locations. (888) 252-6746, lansing. org/events/be-a-tourist.
JUNE 4-5 >> RIVERBANK TRADITIONAL POW WOW The 14th annual Riverbank Traditional Pow Wow comes to Adado Riverfront Park June 4 and 5. This event features a variety of activities involving Native American culture, including crafts, performances and food. FREE. Adado Riverfront Park, Lansing. (517) 721- 1502, facebook.com/events/1692777584297555
JUNE 10-11 >> CITY PULSE RIVER ROCK CONCERT Two-day outdoor rock festival featuring the Verve Pipe, Wally Pleasant and more. June 11 also includes City Pulse’s Top of the Town Party. (For more information on the Top of the Town Party, see p. 9; for more information on the musical acts, see Turn it down, p. 20.) Advance tickets available online, concert tickets are $10 more at the door. See the web for a full schedule and ticket prices. Adado Riverfront Park, Lansing. riverrockconcert.com.
JUNE 17-18 >> SUMMER SOLSTICE JAZZ FESTIVAL East Lansing’s Summer Solstice Jazz Festival celebrates its 20th anniversary with a diverse slate of local and international jazz artists. Highlights include soulful pianist Marcus Roberts, the cream-of-the-crop Chicago Jazz Orchestra, a summit of four young vocalists and a tripled roster of top avant-garde/ free-jazz groups. FREE. Downtown East Lansing. (517) 319-6980, eljazzfest.com.
JUNE 25 >> LANSING BEER FEST The fourth annual Lansing Beer Fest returns to REO Town June 25. The outdoor festival features over 25 Michigan breweries pouring over 100 craft beers. The event also includes local food trucks, vendors and live music from Mark Warner, Dusty Strings and the Jonestown Crows. VIP tickets, which include early entry and extra tasting tickets, are available online or at the REO Town Pub. $35/$30 adv./$40 VIP. REO Town, Lansing. lansingbeerfest.com
JULY 5-10 >> COMMON GROUND MUSIC FESTIVAL Lansing’s biggest summer music festival returns July 5 through 10 with a packed slate of local and international talent. This year’s lineup includes country stars Tim McGraw and Dierks Bentley, rapper A$AP Rocky, singer Jason Derulo and rock bands Rise Against, AWOLNATION and Milky Chance. See web for full schedule and ticket prices. Adado Riverfront Park, Lansing. (517) 267-1502 commongroundfest.com
JULY 15-16 >> OLD TOWN SCRAPFEST Old Town ScrapFest celebrates creativity and resource reuse. Artists or teams of artists are given one hour to collect up to 500 pounds of scrap metal, which they must use to create an sculpture. The results are unveiled at ScrapFest, with $3,500 in cash prizes available for jury-selected winners. The two-day festival also features live music, a beer tent and a variety of artists booths. Old Town, Lansing. (517) 485- 4283, oldtownscrapfest.org.
JULY 30 >> CAR CAPITAL AUTO & BIKE SHOW Car and motorcycle lovers from Michigan and beyond come together in downtown Lansing this summer for the 24th annual Car Capital Auto & Bike Show. The event features over 70 classes of cars and motorcycles, and 150 awards will be handed out to winning vehicles. 9 a.m.-3 p.m. FREE for general admission/$15-25 for vehicle registration before July 22/$20-30 for vehicle registration after July 22. 100 N. Capitol Ave., Lansing. (517) 372-0529, carcapitalautoshow.org.
JULY 30 >> TASTE OF DOWNTOWN See what downtown Lansing’s food scene has to offer at the seventh annual Taste of Downtown. Over 100 different wines are available, and Lansing Brewing Co. provides tasty brews for those who prefer beer over wine. American Fifth Spirits will also be on hand, serving up cocktails made with its locally-sourced liquors. Live music is provided by Taylor Taylor, Avon Bomb, Phil Denny and Air Margaritaville. Check the website for an up-to-date list of participating restaurants, cafes and pubs. Attendees must be 21 or older. $25. 100 block of South Washington Square, Lansing. tasteofdowntown.org.
AUG. 5-6 >> LANSING JAZZFEST The 22nd annual JazzFest takes over Turner Street in Old Town August 5 and 6, serving up a healthy portion of local and national jazz talent. This year’s lineup has not yet been announced; keep an eye on the webpage for the latest information. FREE. Old Town, Lansing. (517) 371-4600, jazzlansing.com.
AUG. 12-14 >> GREAT LAKES FOLK FESTIVAL The Michigan State University Museum’s celebration of folk music, dance and culture takes over the streets of downtown East Lansing August 12 through 14. The Great Lakes Folk Festival features a variety of artists and genres ranging from Western swing and gospel to reggae and salsa. The weekend-long event also features hands-on workshops a craft marketplace and local food vendors. FREE. Downtown East Lansing. (517) 432-3357, greatlakesfolkfest.net.
AUG. 20 >> ART FEAST Food and art collide this August at Old Town’s ART Feast. The outdoor festival hosts both an art fair and food truck rally, allowing spectators to fill their bellies while feasting their eyes on over 30 art-filled vendor booths lining the streets of Old Town. Local businesses will also get in on the festivities, offering sidewalk sales and other treats. The Saturday event begins with the art fair from 10 a.m.-5 p.m; the food truck rally runs 11 a.m.-3 p.m. FREE. Old Town, Lansing. (517) 485-4283, iloveoldtown.org/art-feast.
SEPT. 16-17 >> MICHIGAN BLUESFEST If the end of summer has you singing the blues, you can commiserate with the artists at the 23rd annual Michigan BluesFest. The two-day event features a variety of regional blues artists. Aside from the music, the festival features children’s activities, vendors and a variety of food offerings. The 2016 lineup has not been released, keep an eye on the website for the latest info. FREE. Old Town, Lansing. (517) 371-4600, oldtownbluesfest.com.
With close to 20 Michigan music festivals, many just a short drive from Lansing, it’s easy to find something that meets your taste and genre preference. These destination music festivals are packed with some of the biggest names in country, folk, electronic, jazz and pop music.MAY 28-30 >> MOVEMENT ELECTRONIC MUSIC FESTIVAL Jam out to cutting-edge electronic music at this year's Movement Electronic Music Festival, which kicks off Saturday. The dance-centric event features over 124 artists, including the Tale of Us, Matthew Dear and Loren. Movement takes place in the heart of Detroit at Hart Plaza. Ticket prices range from $175 to $300 for the whole weekend; individual day tickets cost $85. Hart Plaza, 1 Nelson Mandela Drive, Detroit. movement.us
JUNE 10-11 >> KELOORAH Live music is the focal point at Keloorah, a post- Nascar event at the Michigan International Speedway. On June 10, Joe Hertler & the Rainbow Seekers, the Neighbourhood and Third Eye Blind are on deck. Saturday’s line up features big-name artists Elle King, Andy Grammer, Fitz and the Tantrums and Grouplove. Ticket prices range from $60 to $375. Michigan International Speedway, 12626 US-12, Brooklyn, MI. (517) 592-6666 mispeedway.com/keloorah.
JUNE 16-18 >> ISLAND FESTIVAL Kalamazoo’s Island Festival takes attendees on a tropical getaway through food, music and good vibes. After a one-year hiatus, the Island Festival once again fills the streets of Kalamazoo with reggae music. This year’s lineup features over fifteen reggae artists and food from eight local restaurants. Daytime events are FREE; evening concert tickets start at $5. See web for complete schedule and ticket prices. Mayor's Riverfront Park, 251 Mills St. Kalamazoo. islandfestkzoo.com.
JUNE 18 >> FOUNDERS FEST 2016 Founders, Grand Rapids’ flagship brewery, hosts its ninth annual street festival, Founders Fest 2016.. The event features eight different bands including local Michigan indie rock group the Go Rounds. Attendees must be 21 or older. 3 p.m. $20-$35. Founders Brewing Co., 235 Grandville Ave., Grand Rapids. (616) 776-1195, foundersbrewing.com/taproom-events/foundersfest-2016.
JUNE 23-26 >> ELECTRIC FOREST Hammocks litter the trees and campers stake out shady spots for Electric Forest, the electronic pop music fest that once again invades the woods of Rothbury. The festival features well over 100 acts, ranging from jam bands to bluegrass outfits to electronic artists. Tickets are sold out, so check secondary markets if you’re looking to attend this year’s Electric Forest. 7100 South Water Road, Rothbury. electricforestfestival.com.
JULY 15-17 >> FASTER HORSES The lineup of the Faster Horses Music Festival, coming in July in Brooklyn, MI, features some of country music’s top artists. Over 40 groups perform, including big-name artists Alan Jackson, Big & Rich, Lady Antebellum, Jason Aldean, Jana Kramer, Sam Hunt and Eric Church. The weekend also offers over fifteen different camping sites to choose from. General admission for all three days ranges from $199 to $499. Michigan International Speedway, 12626 US-12, Brooklyn, MI. fasterhorsesfestival.com
While many local companies take it easy over the summer, MSU and LCC both have robust summer theater seasons. There’s also Over the Ledge Theatre Co., the summer-only theater group that performs in Grand Ledge’s historic Ledges Playhouse, as well as the Renegade Theatre Festival in Old Town and the Michigan Shakespeare Festival in Jackson.MSU Department of Theatre presents its 56th season in the recently completed Summer Circle Courtyard. Keeping with tradition, the last two weeks of the season pair an earlier children’s show with a late night show for mature audiences. All shows are FREE. The Summer Circle Courtyard is located on Auditorium Road between the Auditorium Building and the Kresge Art Center. For more information, call (517) 355-6690 or visit theatre.msu.edu/sct.
JUNE 8-11 >> ‘A GRAND NIGHT FOR SINGING’ Summer Circle Theatre celebrates a legendary musical theater duo in “A Grand Night for Singing.” Originally produced in 1993, the musical revue compiles some of the most successful works of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II, drawing from “Carousel,” “The Sound of Music,” “Oklahoma!” and many more. In MSU’s Summer Circle Theatre’s version, Brad Willcuts directs the revue, and all ages are invited to enjoy the show. 8 p.m.
JULY 23-24 >> MO POP 24 bands take the stage at Detroit’s West Riverfront Parks for this year’s Mo Pop festival. Popular artists like G-Eazy, the Head and the Heart, and BORNS are slated to perform. Tickets for the weekend range from $109.50 to $249. West Riverfront Park, 1801 W. Jefferson Detroit. mopopfestival.com
AUG. 19-21 >> HOXEYVILLE Sounds of bluegrass and indie folk music resonate over 85 acres of farmland, surrounded by the Manistee National Forest, at the Hoxeyville Music Festival. This year’s lineup features over 33 artists. The outdoor festival is surrounded by a scenic river and includes several biking trails, campgrounds and paths to explore between musical acts. Presale general admission tickets are $130. hoxeyville.com
SEPT. 2-5 >> DETROIT JAZZ FEST Enjoy classic jazz music on the streets of downtown Detroit at the 34th annual Detroit Jazz Fest. This year’s line-up features some of the biggest names in jazz, including Ron Carter, John Scofield, Brad Mehldau and Roy Hargrove. FREE. Hart Plaza, 1 Nelson Mandela Drive, Detroit. (855) 529-9338, detroitjazzfest.com.
JUNE 15-18 >> ‘THE GROUNDLING’ When New York Landscaper Bob Malone stumbles onto an outdoor production of “Love’s Labour’s Lost,” he immediately gets sucked into Shakespeare’s prose. The show has such an impact on him that Malone sets out to write a new Shakespeare play, which he stages in his garage. Ages 12 and up are invited to enjoy the show. 8 p.m.
JUNE 22-25 >> ‘FALLEN ANGELS’ The MSU Summer Circle Theatre presents “Fallen Angels,” one of Noël Coward’s best known plays. Ann Folino White directs this comedic tale about two friends, Jane and Julia. Both women have long been married and have all but forgotten about their mutual former lover, Maurice. But when the Frenchman comes back into their lives and requests to see both of them, trouble ensues. Ages 8 and up are invited to enjoy the show. 8 p.m.
JUNE 10-11, 17-18 >> ‘MOUNT OLYMPUS JUNIOR HIGH’ What were Apollo and Poseidon like as teenagers? “Mount Olympus Junior High” takes a humorous look at the adolescent lives of Greek gods and goddesses. This original musical is penned by MSU’s Rob Roznowski and features a score by MSU alum Seth Burk. All ages are invited to this children’s show. 6:30 p.m.
JUNE 17-18, 24-25 >> ‘MR. MARMALADE’ Many kids have an imaginary friend, but not many of them have a cocaine addiction and a penchant for pornography. In this dark comedy, 4-year-old Lucy’s imaginary friend, Mr Marmalade, wreaks havoc on her life. This play features profanity and adult situations and is recommended for adults only. 10 p.m.
Lansing Community College’s Theatre Program presents its annual Summer Under the Stars performing arts series. Most events take place in the outdoor amphitheatre located on LCC’s campus between Dart Auditorium and the Gannon Building, with Dart Auditorium as the rain location. Attendees are invited to bring a blanket, lawn chairs and/or snacks. All performances are free and start at 7 p.m. For more information, call (517) 483-1488 or visit lcc. edu/showinfo.
JUNE 15-19 >> ‘THE ILIAD, THE ODYSSEY, AND ALL OF GREEK MYTHOLOGY IN 99 MINUTES OR LESS’ With the clock ticking in front of everyone's eyes, the cast speeds through the classics of Greek mythology. From silly decisions to absurd destinies, the legendary characters are presented with lightning speed as the cast races to get to the end of the story before the timer hits zero.
JUNE 29 >> LCC FACULTY JAZZ QUARTET AND LCC JAZZ BAND COMBO LCC’s all-star jazz outfit is joined by students from the LCC music program for an evening of jazz music.
JULY 20-24 >> ‘HUCK FINN’ Adapted from Mark Twain’s “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,” this play follows Huck Finn as he flees the claws of "civilization" for the freedom of the mighty Mississippi, only to find himself running from mobs, getting shot at, stealing gold, digging escape tunnels and mastering disguises.
JULY 26-29 >> DANCE LANSING — COMMUNITY DANCE PROJECT DANCE Lansing returns to LCC for its 11th year as the Community Dance Project presents a program of modern and contemporary dance. The collaborative group is founded by partners Happendance and LCC Performing Arts and now includes associates Everett High School Dance Program, Fusion Dance Center, Greater Lansing Academy of Dance, MICA Gallery, Michigan State University Department of Theatre, and MSU Orchesis. DANCE Lansing will take place inside Dart Auditorium, regardless of weather.
Over the Ledge Theatre Co. is back this summer with two comedic plays, “The Explorers Club,” June 9 through 19, and “Good Night Desdemona (Good Morning, Juliet),” June 7 through 17. Both shows take place at the historic Ledges Playhouse in Grand Ledge’s Fitzgerald Park (137 FItzgerald Park Drive, Grand Ledge). More details, including ticket prices, will be announced soon. For more information, call (517) 318-0579 or check overtheledge.org.
AUG. 18-20 >> RENEGADE THEATRE FESTIVAL The annual Renegade Theatre Festival returns to Old Town for its 11th year this summer. The free, multi-site festival gives local theater groups and independent producers, writers and directors the opportunity to present their work in art galleries, retail spaces and outdoor venues. Performances range from serious drama to children’s musicals and puppet theater. FREE. renegadetheatrefestival.org.
JULY 9-24 >> MICHIGAN SHAKESPEARE FESTIVAL The annual Michigan Shakespeare Festival returns to Jackson for its 21st year this summer. Founded in 1995 as a one-weekend event in Jackson’s Ella Sharp Park, it has since grown to a five-week event, including a three-week run in Canton. This year, the festival presents three plays, Shakespeare’s “As You Like It” and “Richard II,” and Karen Tarjan’s adaptation of Michael Shaara’s Pulitzer Prizewinning novel, “The Killer Angels.” The festival’s stint in Jackson runs July 9 through 24. Call or see web for times and ticket prices. Jackson College’s Baughman’s Theatre at the Potter Center, 2111 Emmons Road, Jackson. (517) 787-0800, michiganshakespearefestival.com