Dedication to Lansing

Lansing JazzFest began in 1995 when the Old Town Business & Art Development Association (OTBADA), having successfully produced OctoberFest the year prior, discovered that music festivals are an excellent way to encourage people to visit and enjoy Old Town.

Lansing’s jazz radio station, 89.7 WLNZ, signed on as a founding media sponsor, and MessageMakers became the festival’s founding business sponsor that same year.

In its early days, local musicians donated their time to play at JazzFest, and volunteers from the neighborhood and the local community pitched in to see that the roughly 2,000 people in attendance had a good time.

JazzFest Evening Crowd.

JazzFest Evening Crowd.

Over the years, the scope of the festival — with paid performers, including those of national and regional stature; three stages and 20 hours of programming; addition of clinics, workshops and children’s activities — has grown to bring in close to 5,000 attendees per year, making sponsors and volunteers more important than ever!

Since its inception, JazzFest has welcomed such renowned artists as TS Monk, Stanley Jordan, Hot Club of Detroit, Tim Cunningham, Johnny O’Neal, Rayse Biggs, Mose Allison, Michael Kaeshammer, the Professors of Jazz at MSU (Derrick Gardner, Randy Gelispie, Diego Rivera, Rick Roe, Rodney Whitaker, Sunny Wilkinson), Terell Stafford, Marcus Belgrave, Dr. E, Nicole Mitchell, John Douglas, Francis Kofi, Betty Joplin, Tyrone Johnson, Straight Ahead, Orrick Ewing, and numerous regional and local acts. Click HERE for more complete lists of past artists.

Please take a look at our outdoor mural that showcases a history of JazzFest and BluesFest posters in Old Town Lansing.

JazzFest is produced by MICA (Michigan Institute for Contemporary Art). WLNZ and MessageMakers remain founding supporters of JazzFest, along with other corporate sponsors and a committed team of over 150 volunteers.

JazzFest is THE place to enjoy the soothing rhythms and contagious beat of cool jazz tunes on a hot summer weekend!