Lansing 5:01 launches Garden Jam music festival


THURSDAY, Sept. 17 —  Through this weekend, Lansing 5:01 is hosting an outdoor concert series called the Garden Jam. Attendees can enjoy live music joined by the soothing sight of downtown Lansing during sunset. 

Garden Jam will take place in Lansing’s Cooley Gardens — a beautiful spot with park benches, picnic tables, a pavilion and, of course, a wide array of gorgeous flowers sure to impress any plant lover. Cooley Gardens also overlooks Lansing’s three iconic smokestacks — Wynken, Blynken and Nod.  

“We typically welcome thousands of emerging professionals each summer through our programming,” said Chris Zell, executive director at Lansing 5:01. “Unfortunately, because of the pandemic, we had to cancel or postpone all of that. But we still wanted to bring together some type of dynamic event this fall.” 

The concert series isn’t limited to one genre. Depending on which day you attend the Garden Jam, you could hear blues, jazz, alternative rock, R&B or country. All of the artists are based in Michigan. Most come from the Lansing area.   

Each night, there will be three performances from two artists — one show starting at 6 p.m., another at 8 p.m. and another at 10 p.m.. Thursday features Twyla Birdsong and the Adventures of Fatboy & JiveTurkey, Friday has Via Mardot and Our Attic, Saturday has Ozay Moore + the Orzo Effect and Sunday night will round out the concert series with Two-Faced Wilson and Rachel Curtis.  

During the performances, the gardens will be lit up with colorful lights. “There will be a ton of special lighting and staging,” said Zell. “Between the music and the ambiance of the space, attendees will get a really unique, once-in-a-great-while type of experience.” 

There will also be Lansing Brewing Co. beer and wine available to buy at the Garden Jam. To prevent crowded lines, servers will be present to take orders and run drinks to tables.  

To encourage social distancing, guests will be seated in groups of four at tables spaced a safe distance apart. There will be hand sanitizing stations and wipes placed around the park. Guests at the event are required to wear masks except for when they are seated at their tables.  

“We wanted to put on a cultural event that showcases a really neat part of the city while also keeping in accordance with county, statewide and CDC guidelines,” said Zell.  

Due to the pandemic, seating is limited. Attendees are encouraged to RSVP online. If there are open tables on the night of a show, then guests will be allowed entry without an RSVP. However, capacity at the Garden Jam is only 100. Some shows have already sold out, so act fast if you want to save a spot for yourself.    


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