The nonprofit GR and Jazz produces GRandJazzFest, a summer festival held in downtown Grand Rapids. Courtesy GRandJazzFest
After a successful 2012, GRandJazzFest is expanding to two days this year, and the Grand Rapids Downtown Development Authority is offering a $1 match for every $4 that is raised for the festival, up to $20,000 in grant funding.
The free festival will be held at Rosa Parks Circle in downtown Grand Rapids on Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 17-18, and will offer 10 jazz bands and performers of diverse genres.
“The DDA is committed to exploring new ideas that can advance the Grand Rapids community, and we are pleased to partner in the funding for GRandJazzFest’s second annual event,” said Kris Larson, the DDA’s executive director. “It’s a great event for the city, and we heard from stakeholders that the 2012 event provided significant economic impact for downtown.”
According to festival organizers, downtown businesses reported that the day of the festival was among their best in sales for the summer. Kilwins reported the second busiest day since opening in May 2012. Tre Cugini’s owner likened the festival to a mini-ArtPrize, and a representative of The Dog Pit said the popular eatery did triple the business of a normal Saturday.
The hope is that by expanding to two days the festival will draw more out-of-town visitors to the city and result in an even greater economic impact than the previous year.
Organizers are also hoping that the festival’s proven success will draw additional event sponsors. Currently about 20 sponsors have stepped up to support the 2013 event, including the city of Grand Rapids and the DTE Energy Foundation, which is the presenting sponsor.
Performers have yet to be announced, but more information about the festival can be obtained at grandjazzfest.org.
GRandJazzFest is founded and produced by GR and Jazz, which is a volunteer-based 501(c)(3) organization.