Summer Goes Out With a Bang!  The Final Festivals

Summer Goes Out With a Bang! The Final Festivals

None of us want to admit it, but we all know it’s true: Labor Day means summer is coming to a close.

Luckily, that’s not all it means.  Labor Day weekend in Detroit also means a lot of great art and music festivals–we like to save the best for last and then cram them all into one weekend!

There is a little something for everyone this weekend, from jazz to art to film.  Enjoy!

Arts Beats and Eats
No longer the “Chrysler” Arts Beats and Eats (Chrysler could not afford the sponsorship this year), Pontiac’s annual festival of art, music, and food soldiers on with only a $2 admission price.  With 50 restaurants, 200 music performers, and 155 art exhibitors, this is one of the largest festivals in the metro area, not to mention one of the most comprehensive.  (It rivals CityFest in restaurants and music performers and whallops them in art; the Ann Arbor Art Fair has more art but little of anything else.)  It’s one of my favorites and I’m thrilled that, even without their major sponsor, they were still able to pull it off.

Friday-Sunday, 11:00AM-10:00PM, Monday 11:00AM-8:00PM

The Detroit International Jazz Festival
Celebrating its 30th year, the Detroit Jazz Fest (DJF) features 5 stages with over 100 artists performing over the four-day weekend.  It is one of the most noteworthy jazz festivals in the country (and the largest free jazz festival in America), and is a signature event for Detroit.  The DJF strives to perpetuate Detroit’s significant jazz history and nurture the development of jazz by offering educational and collaborative opportunities, and all of it free to everyone.

Friday 6:00PM-11:00PM, Saturday-Sunday 12:00PM-11:00PM, Monday 12:00PM-10:00PM

The Innaugural Ferndale Film Festival
The summer begins with the DWIFF and ends with F3.

Local filmmakers have yet another opportunity to shine with this 4-day festival held in locations all over Ferndale, from Dino’s to the Rosie O’Grady’s.  55 films ranging from 300 second micro-minis to full-length features will be shown throughout the city over this four-day weekend.  Regulars of the local festival circuit–this and last year’s DWIFF, the Mitten Movie Project–will likely see a lot of familiar titles, but there are also plenty of new titles (or ones you might have missed previously) worth checking out.

I know from having been at the screening that there were only about 8 people watching Tracy at this year’s DWIFF, which is an outright shame.  I thought the film was hilarious (read about it here), and I highly recommend to the 8 of you who didn’t already see it that you go to the Go Comedy! Theatre on Saturday at 5:30PM and catch this screening.  Get there an hour earlier and you can also catch local filmmakers Five Clover Films’ Office Space send-up First Day.

The Purple Gang is a riveting documentary that covers one of the most feared (and now one of the least-known) crime syndicates in history–the predominantly Jewish Purple Gang, who ruled Detroit (and much of the country) during Prohibition.  It’s a fascinating piece of local history, and one you don’t often hear much about.  See it at Rosie O’Grady’s Sunday at 8:00PM.

Detroit Unleaded is a much-buzzed-about short film by Detroiter Rola Nashef, which is a coming-of-age drama about two Arab brothers who own a gas station and asks the question: What is the American dream?  This is playing with several other shorts, including the award-winning short Bitch by Lilah Vandenburgh, at AJ’s Cafe on Saturday at 7:00PM.

The Festival opens with the red carpet premiere of Creator of God at the Magic Bag on Friday.  There will be an opening reception inside the venue at 7:00PM followed by the screening at 8:30PM.  F3 also will feature a micro-mini film challenge, outdoor screenings of Army of Darkness and Monsters, Inc., and free workshops which range on topics from guerrilla filmmaking, photography, lighting, and zombie makeup.

Tickets are $5 per screening, $10 for opening night, and $20 for weekend passes.  Tickets are available at Dino’s Lounge and other show locations.  See the website for details on screenings, workshops, and more.

Hamtramck Labor Day Festival
The fringe festival of Labor Day, the Hamtramck Labor Day Festival–now in its 29th year–promises lots and lots of polka, the Polish Day Parade (Monday at 1:30PM), a world music stage featuring everything from Afrobeat to Bosnian pop, and enough local indie rock to see you through to the next indie rock festival (i.e., next weekend).  There will also be children’s activities, a dunk tank, carnival rides, and all the Polish food you can eat (which isn’t much, because those pierogies are filling).  It’s a tried-and-true Hamtramck-style festival!

Friday, September 4th-Monday, September 7th (see website for complete schedule)

Post-Labor Day Events

The fun doesn’t entirely stop after Labor Day!  There are a few more festivals we can count on before we need to break out our parkas once again.

Dally in the Alley
Saturday, September 12th (rain date: Sept. 13) Detroit’s greenest festival returns with indie rock, techno, food, art, beer, and all that random stuff you find in the alley.  It’s got the most DIY spirit of all the Detroit festivals, though it doesn’t quite have the name…

…Not like the DIY Streetfair!
The second installment of this popular music-food-art event, first started last year, is back and is now spanning three days, Friday Sept. 18-Sunday Sept. 20.  The beer garden, featuring all Michigan-made brews, is back, as is the stupendous music lineup on the main stage.  The Hard Lessons, Octopus, Oscillating Fan Club, Johnny Headband, Lee Marvin Computer Arm, Champions of Breakfast, the Hentchmen, Friendly Foes, Child Bite…yes, this is the best indie rock lineup any of the big outdoor festivals have seen yet this year.  It looks like DIY might once again take top prize for best fest!

And there you have it.  It ends not with a whisper, but a bang (on drums, with lots of fuzzy guitars and reverberating amplifiers).  Enjoy these final hours of summer fun!