Detroit International Jazz Festival
Detroit Jazz Festival rated one of the top four jazz festivals
in national poll

In a national reader’s poll recently conducted by JazzTimes, one of the world’s leading jazz publications, the Detroit Jazz Festival (DJF) was voted one of the top four jazz festivals in North America, and is the only completely free festival in the top four.
Detroit Jazzfest 2010
“We are honored to be in the company of such venerable institutions, including Newport Jazz Festival, Monterey Jazz Festival and Montreal International Jazz Festival,” said Terri Pontremoli, DJF, festival director, “but it is important to note that of the top four, Detroit is the only one that remains free of charge.”
The news of this recognition comes on the heels of a recent national study conducted by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) on the importance of outdoor arts festivals. As documented in this national survey, outdoor arts festivals contribute significantly to their community’s identity, economy, civic engagement and cultural vitality. They also depend on their local governments in important ways, and are currently experiencing financial shortfalls.
Since DJF became an independent non-profit organization in 2006, the festival has enjoyed a growing international reputation for its artistic excellence. For the City of Detroit, it has garnered a $90 million impact and attracted tourism from all over the world – 23 percent of the festival audience comes from out of state.
“Many cities have festivals. Fewer have world-class music festivals. Fewer still have world-class music festivals that are free,” said Gretchen Valade, DJF Foundation, chair. “While the sagging economy over the past few years affected all of us in the arts – here and throughout the country - things are improving, but it takes continued support from our community to help keep this festival free.”
Music fans are not the only segment that has taken note of the festival, although they are beginning to show their support through memberships and individual gifts. The festival has received several awards from foundations, such as John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Family Foundation, The Joyce Foundation, and The Kresge Foundation, along with government agencies such as NEA.
“Detroit Jazz Fest does so much for the image of the city,” says Dr. Stan Berry, festival board chair, DJF. “It puts us on the map, unifies our citizens and shows Detroit as an important hub for music, and this couldn’t be possible without our community and corporate sponsors.”
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The Detroit International Jazz Festival Foundation is an independent, non-profit foundation that supports Detroit Jazz Fest jazz and educational programs throughout the year. In 2010, the festival received support from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Erb Foundation, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the Kresge Foundation. Sponsors include Chase, Carhartt, Absopure, Mack Avenue Records, DTE Energy, DTE Energy Foundation, Meijer, Budweiser, Pepsi, American Express, Delta Skymiles, Dirty Dog Jazz Café, MGM Grand Detroit, Quicken Loans, Compuware, Eisbrenner Public Relations, Plante Moran, Damon’s Grill, Citizens Bank, Comcast, Greater Detroit Landscape Co., Great Lakes Fireworks and Flagstar. Media sponsors include Fox 2, WEMU, WDET, WRCJ, Jacobs Media, CJAM, Metrotimes, Jazztimes, DownBeat, Jazziz, AM 580, DBusiness,, The Detroit Media Partnership and HOUR Detroit Magazine. In addition, there is a growing base of individual support. Fans are encouraged to keep the festival FREE by making donations online throughout the year.
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