Flint’s Jazz Festival is underway at Riverbank Park

Flint, MI – Local artists and popular jazz musicians fill downtown Flint with music this weekend with the return of the Flint Jazz Festival.

The festival is hosted by the Greater Flint Arts Council at Riverbank Park from July 29 to July 31. This year the festival has expanded to commemorate its 40th anniversary with big names in the jazz world and additional events earlier in the week.

On Wednesday, singer Peabo Bryson performed at the Capitol Theater to commemorate the festival. On Thursday, the festival brought back its Jazzwalk event, with musicians performing at six different venues in Flint.

Festival director Harold Hill said he hopes that in the years to come the festival can continue to expand into a full week of festivities.

On Friday, the festival kicked off at 5:30 p.m. with local band Eclipse, followed by guitarist Lee Ritenour to close out the first official night.

Saturday performances begin at 1:30 p.m. with the University of Michigan-Flint Jazz Combo and end at 8:30 p.m. with headliner Bob James. On Sundays, performances begin at 2:00 p.m. with 4 Miles to the Groove and end at 8:30 p.m. with headliner Alexander Zonjic.

In addition to music, several vendors serve food and produce at the festival. Christ The King Catholic Church served fried fish and hot dogs at the event. The church has been serving the event for over 10 years. Totem Books, a second-hand bookstore, vinyl store and cafe in Flint sold jazz records at the event.

The festival was started by Joe Freyre, a musician who led youth jazz bands in Flint. Freyre died in 2004. Many musicians of that year have already played with Freyre.

“There’s a rich jazz history here in Flint,” Hill said. “We just try to honor that.”

Admission to the festival is $10 at the door.

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