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Michigan’s Top Jazz Event and Much More at the River Raisin Jazz Festival

Monroe, Michigan is a vacation destination just begging to be visited, tucked away on the shore of Lake Erie. The city is home to a storied and vibrant culture, and is chock full of great things to do.


The range of activities in Monroe is impressive, from boat tours of scenic Lake Erie shoreline to exploring War of 1812 battlefields. Take to the lake where you can enjoy a variety of fun endeavors. Rent a guide and go on a sailboat tour, try your hand at fishing for a variety of species, or just lay out on a nearby beach. Monroe is also a hotbed for golfing, and there are over 24 courses in the metro area to choose from including Carrington Golf Club, Old Town Golf and Sportland, and River Raisin Golf Club. If you're a history buff, you're in the right place. Historical locations like Monroe County Historical Museum, River Raisin Territorial Park, and Monroe County Labor Museum, are ideal places to research the city’s history. In addition to being a growing cultural and art center, Monroe is also host to some spectacular events and festivals such as the annual River Raisin Jazz Festival.


For 15 years, the River Raisin Jazz Festival has attracted music fans from all over North America. This year’s event is expected to be bigger than ever, with an expected attendance of more than 50,000. The festival is family friendly and features a large selection of great musical along with an assortment of handmade goods and unique art you won't find anywhere else available at the craft festival. What would a big event be without good food? The River Raisin Jazz Festival will feature a full food court with enough food options to cater to everyone. If you enjoy a fun and laid back atmosphere with great live music, this festival is for you! got the opportunity to interview John Patterson, representative for the River Raisin Jazz Festival, to talk about the event.


RAL: Tell me a little bit about the event.

JP: This year is our 15th Anniversary, and our award winning event attracts jazz music fans and general music fans from throughout the U.S. and Canada. The festival has been growing steadily over the years and this year the crowd is expected to be over 50,000 people.


Leading up to the festival we have 14 weeks of the River Raisin Jazz Series that runs mid-May through the Festival. Then, we have the Annual Friday Night Preview Party Kickoff, and finally we have the two days of the River Raisin Jazz Festival, held annually during the 2nd weekend in August!


RAL: What is the typical demographic makeup of the event? Children? Families? Couples?

JP: We get all ages and ethnic backgrounds including singles, families, etc. It’s a widely diverse audience. Anyone who is interested should make the trip and check out the festival. It's a music experience you won't forget!


RAL: What makes this event unique?

JP: The city of Monroe makes it unique. Who’d have thought that a grand event like this would work in tiny Monroe? It’s a community of history, Lake Erie activities, agriculture, industry and more! It was a huge success from the very first drum beat!


RAL: Take me through a day at the event.

JP: First and foremost there will be FREE live jazz music! There will be a food court filled with various meals to choose from. Also, all the downtown restaurants will be open for business and serving up delicious cuisine. An art fair will be held during the event where you’ll find some unique handmade pieces and so much more.


RAL: Will there be any guest appearances?

JP: Everyone is a guest! We have hosted the biggest names in the music industry including Kenny G, David Sanborn, Ray Parker Jr, Bobby Caldwell, Chris Botti, Spyro Gyra, Arturo Sandoval, Bob James, and the list goes on and on!


RAL: What can an attendee expect to find for local lodging?

JP: You’ll find hotels very near the park, on exits 15 & 11 off of I-75. The Quality Inn Monroe is the official host hotel!


RAL: What does the event mean to the community?

JP: This festival is the largest weekend event in Monroe County. People don’t just come from the county, but from all over the state and even across the country.  


RAL: Does this drive business to your local economy?

JP: Yes, our event has a tremendous economic impact to the region! With over 50,000 people entering the community, the impact is wide reaching.


RAL: Does the event support a special cause in the community?

JP: The event supports the entire community! It’s a great way for people to get together and have a great time.   


RAL: Why should people come to your event?

JP: Easy, we have legendary artists performing at this beautiful venue. It's easy to find (close to downtown Monroe and Lake Erie) plus there is lodging, dining, and nightlife, right at your fingertips.

For more information about the River Raisin Festival, please visit their website