East Lansing Jazz Festival Is Cancelled, and Art Festival Will Provide Virtual Fare

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Performance at the 2017 Summer Solstice Jazz Festival in the Ann Street Plaza.

East Lansing Community Events Specialist Justin Drwencke has confirmed that the Summer Solstice Jazz Festival, originally scheduled for June 19-20, will not be held downtown due to the ongoing presence of COVID-19.

Drwencke said 13 groups had been contacted to perform at the festival, and four spots were reserved for student jazz groups that were still to be determined.

“Most artists were from Michigan, with a few groups from Detroit,” Drwencke said. “One group was from San Francisco. We’ve extended an invitation to all artists to be part of the 2021 festival.”

Drwencke said the Summer Solstice Advisory Board is looking into a virtual festival offering to take place in June, leading up to what would have been the June festival weekend.

“This will likely involve re-broadcasting videos of performances from previous Summer Solstice Jazz Festivals,” Drwencke said. “We’re still evaluating what this will exactly look like.”

Art Festival will feature virtual offerings

Meanwhile, because a large part of social interaction these days has become virtual, City officials are optimistic about plans to move the 57th annual East Lansing Art Festival (ELAF) online.

According to a news release, festival staff are “working to provide virtual festival offerings between now and Saturday, May 16.” All festival offerings will be dependent on sponsorships, according to the release.

“We have been overwhelmed with the support of the ELAF community, with more than 20,000 people seeing, commenting and/or sharing our festival cancellation post on Facebook,” Art Festival Coordinator Heather Majano said. “We hope these virtual offerings will provide the community with something to enjoy and look forward to in these difficult times. We also hope that this effort will provide some much-needed support to our exhibiting artists, who are facing many festival and event cancellations due to the COVID-19 crisis.”

The ELAF website has been updated to include links to the exhibiting artists’ websites, including details on how to place an online order. Different art mediums will be showcased on the ELAF social media accounts through mid-May.

The ELAF Facebook page will host a full day of live-streaming art offerings on May 16, including musical performances; artist demonstrations; at-home children’s art activities; artist award announcements; and more.

ELi is in the middle of a fundraising campaign, and we need your help! Read more.

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