For the past 17 years the people of Monroe, Michigan have basked in the glory of the River Raisin Jazz Festival. The festival was solely supported by sponsorships from 5-8 local businesses. The festival is a 2 day celebration of Jazz, Smooth Jazz, R&B and others who have graced our stage. We have been blessed with the likes of Kenny G, David Sanborn, Oleta Adams, Chuck Mangione, Nelson Rangell, Chris Standring, The Rippingtons, Chris Botti, Brenda Russell, Paul Brown, Arturo Sandoval, The Ohio Players, Gerald Albright and 80 more acts ~ all because a jazz fan who happened to be a director of tourism had a dream of a festival in his hometown. He reached out to international flutist Alexander Zonjic and teamed with the Detroit Jazz Station V98.7 ~ from there, the festival grew and grew year after year. With preview parties and jazz nights within the town of Monroe. AND, all for FREE. It soon became the largest free jazz festival in Southeastern Michigan and was a welcome break for the economy and our city.
In the years since, the radio station was sold. And our director, John Patterson, died unexpectedly last year. We put on the festival in his honor and so many came. There may have been some thought that the festival should end with John, and it seemingly has. We tried for a while to no avail to get enough to make the 18th this year. We had hoped after last year that we could make it to the 20th. And I have read through a 1000 responses on social media how people wished they would have known and could have helped. Now, at public urgency, we are opening up to private and business donors to help with the festival.
We need 70,000 to pay for the entire 2 day festival. And that includes everything else besides the bands. Sound. Lights. Audio. Marketing will be provided free by By Design Graphic Arts. We have a team of volunteers (6 of us) that have helped run the festival from the inception. The venue is in Saint Mary’s Park in downtown Monroe along the River Raisin. Along with a beautiful art fair to accompany it. And we have 40,000 fans that submerge on that very ground every 2nd week in August.
We know that many of these fund me’s have gifts given to those who give in different increments but we choose to put the money INTO the festival and performances. However, there will be a list of donors in our program this year and thank you’s from the stage.
There is some urgency to this, as planning must begin immediately. SO if you are a music lover… donate. If you like free concerts… donate. If you have ever been and remember the spirit of the festival… please donate.
Follow this link.