Ann Arbor Summer Festival
The Ann Arbor Summer Festival is an exhilarating celebration of performing arts, outdoor entertainment, and community spirit. A boutique music and arts festival, the three-week gathering offers dozens of performances, activities, exhibitions, and screenings representative of the best in music, dance, comedy, film, circus and street arts, and family entertainment.
Founded by Eugene Power, and established as an equal partnership between the City of Ann Arbor and the University of Michigan, the Ann Arbor Summer Festival presented its first full season in 1984. Early festival seasons emphasized classical music and theater, but have since become more popular and diverse in nature, encompassing a breadth of performance genres. What began with a vision for a summer cultural event that would connect audiences with world-class artists, bring community together, and showcase the city and state as a major arts destination, now flourishes as one of the leading multi-arts festivals in the country.
Today, the Ann Arbor Summer Festival produces two concurrent programs, one indoor and one outdoor, at various venues and spaces across the University of Michigan campus and in downtown Ann Arbor. The indoor Mainstage series includes ticketed performances of world-class music, dance, theater, and comedy. The outdoor program, Top of the Park, is held along a beautiful campus green and offers admission-free concerts, movies under the stars, open-air spectacles, and unique family attractions.
The Ann Arbor Summer Festival offers a progressive mix of regional, national, and international artists of all disciplines. Presenting over 100 scheduled events each season and attracting a diverse audience of 75,000 people, the festival continues to grow as a major cultural event in the Ann Arbor community, and as an internationally recognized celebration of arts that enriches the cultural, economic, and social vitality of the region.
For three decades, the festival has hosted such luminaries as Ella Fitzgerald, Johnny Cash, Elvis Costello, Dave Brubeck, Ray Charles, Dizzy Gillespie, Marcel Marceau, Aretha Franklin, Tony Bennett, and Mikhail Baryshnikov. Recent Mainstage seasons have featured Garrison Keillor, Willie Nelson, Gladys Knight, Chris Isaak, Bonnie Raitt, Diana Krall, Lily Tomlin, Steve Martin, Bernadette Peters, Lyle Lovett, k.d. lang, Buddy Guy, John Hiatt, Los Lobos and Patty Griffin. In addition to its mainstream presentations, recent fringe and alternative offerings have included performances by John Waters, Sandra Bernhard, Feist, Devo, Dean & Britta, Neal Medlyn, Taylor Mac, Meow Meow and Mucca Pazza.