My favorite festival of the Summer is back with more acts and more days. The 19th Annual World Music and Diversity festival, the Concert of Colors, is set to go, starting Thursday July 14th and finishing up on Sunday night July17th. First held in 1994 as a celebration of metro Detroit, its diversity, its music and the music of its people, the Festival's goal is ". . . bringing together metro Detroit’s diverse communities and ethnic groups by presenting musical acts from around the world." (from the COC website).
This year the Concert expands to four days.
Thursday, with doors opening at 6pm, the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History hosts a number of acts including African/Hip Hop, Soul, and traditional dance. Over at the Scarab Club the "Woodward Line Poetry" series will present the spoken word and music.
Friday night things move to the Detroit Institute of Arts with Latin Jazz and Blues performances. A screening of the movie "From Britain with Love: Africa United" will be presented. Doors open at 4pm.
Saturday it all begins at 2pm at the Max M. Fisher Music Center. Three stages will be filled with a veriety of music and dance. Acts include; Japanese Drum, Reggae, Irish Folk, Arab Dance, Classical and much more. The evening ends with, what is for me, the highlight of the weekend. Each year Oak Park native Don Was (Was not Was) pulls together a diverse group of Detroit based musicians and puts on the Don Was Detroit All-Star Revue. The performances are truly a tour de force of Detroit culture. This year's ensemble includes Mitch Ryder, Melvin Davis, the Muggs and a whole lot of others.
The Final day of the Festival opens at 2pm on Sunday at "The Max". The line-up on Sunday is as eclectic as Saturday's. It includes such local standouts as The Layabouts, and the Hamtramck World Music Ensemble. The highlight of the day should be the great Bettye LaVette. Born in Muskegon and raised in Detroit, Bettye has been belting out R&B hits since 1962. Ms. LaVette has lost none of her charisma, she retains her soul.
This is a festival not-to-be-missed. The music is great and the ultimate goal of bringing us together, a mish-mash of cultures, city and suburbs, black and white, men and women is important and worthy. We may be different, but WE ARE ALL DETROIT.
The entire festival schedule can be found at the Concert of Colors web site.
See you at the Festival.
© Tim Marks 2011