Enjoy the sights and sounds of jazz with local musicians every Saturday this July at Riverside Park with the Ypsi Jazz Fest.
While it is free to the public, the event is accepting donations to help better support the venue and the local artists involved, with many of the performers being grads from local universities and local talent with a passion for live music in the Ypsilanti community. 40% of donations are going toward the Ypsilanti nonprofit organization, Women and Men Working For Change, whose focus is on providing tools and empowerment to all individuals looking to make a positive influence in the community.
Taryn Willis, Creative Director of the Ypsi Jazz Fest, who is herself a Huron High and EMU graduate, has fond memories of jazz music in Ypsi.
“Back in the day, like, there used to be these amazing concerts in Frog Island,” Willis said. “Just bringing that spirit back to Ypsilanti is just really what our focus is.”
Willis herself grew up with artists who are now performing.
“It’s crazy when you go to school with people and you kind of see the progression,” she said.
In fact, many of the people who participated in the planning of the Ypsi Jazz Fest are Ypsilanti business owners themselves.
With so many yearly music events in Washtenaw County, why jazz?
“It’s universal,” said Willis, who emphasized the importance music had in her life and growing up listening to her parent’s record collections.
Willis secured artists for the Ypsi Jazz Fest that also had a similar drive to help the local community and are involved in nonprofits themselves.
The Ypsi Jazz Fest will be held July 2, 9, 16 and 30 at Riverside Park in Depot Town from 6-9 p.m. with free yoga from 6-7 p.m. on July 2 and 9.
For more information visit the Ypsi Jazz Fest Facebook page.