For the past eight years, perhaps no festival in the region has signified the beginning of summer as much as Detroit RiverFront Conservancy’s GM River Days, which is held along the riverfront in downtown Detroit. Presented by Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort, the event’s organizers and sponsors are even more excited about this year’s 9th annual festival.
Held from Friday, June 19 to Sunday, June 21, River Days’ festivities will stretch along the Detroit River front from William G. Milliken State Park and Harbor, west to the Detroit/Wayne County Port Authority Terminal & Dock, just past the Renaissance Center.
Festival hours are from 11 a.m. – 11:00 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Sunday. There is a $3 admission fee ($5 after 3 p.m.). However, admission is free before 5 p.m. on Friday only.
National and local musical acts will entertain attendees with a mixture of rock, pop, blues, alternative, country, funk, soul, and indie rock music that will reverberate from either the DTE Energy National Stage, Michigan Lottery Stage, or Chevrolet Music Stage. National acts will include the legendary, seven-time Grammy winner and former Motown Recording artist Gladys Knight. Additionally, R&B diva Chante Moore, Detroiter and international jazz songstress Kimmie Horne, R&B recording artists Bell Biv DeVoe, as well as Jagged Edge, Dave Hollister, and Shay Lewis will perform.
Some of the metro acts that will perform are inclusive of The Reefermen (rock), La Shaun Phoenix Moore (R&B/Hip Hop), James & June (Folk), Lynn McCree (contemporary gospel), Alan Turner & The Steel Horse Band (country), Larry Lee & The Back in the Day Band (old school funk & R&B) and at least three dozen other artists of all genres.
This year, according to organizers, an electrifying airshow staged by the Tuskegee Airmen National Historical Museum will perform over the Detroit River on Saturday and Sunday, beginning at 1:00 p.m. River Days attendees can also experience zip lining at Milliken State Park, a free throw and three point shot competition, tall ship tours, and entertainment for children that will include story times, magic and puppet shows, face and hand painting, and more.
A special fundraiser will be presented as a pre-festival treat on Thursday, June 18 from 6 – 10 p.m. and will feature a performance by “The Spinners.” Other activities will include Diamond Jack river tours, carnival rides, and complimentary food and beverages. Tickets for the preview benefit are $50, with all proceeds going to benefit the mission of Detroit RiverFront Conservancy and its ultimate vison to transform and revitalize 5.5 mile of the riverfront.
Since its inception in 2007, GM River Days’ extravaganza has grown year after year. More than 150,000 people on average attend the annual festival. “The mission of the festival is to celebrate this beautiful destination and resource we have right here in downtown Detroit,” said Marc Pasco, director of communications, Detroit RiverFront Conservancy. “It demonstrates that the riverfront is a vibrant, welcoming and exciting place where everyone is welcome. It also shows that there are many positive things happening with the City of Detroit right now.”
“The riverfront has become an iconic symbol to the city of Detroit, and General Motors is pleased to support the Conservancy and highlight the beautiful space along the Detroit River during GM River Days,” said John Blanchard, General Motors’ director of local government relation. “The beloved festival brings the metro Detroit community together, and GM is proud to be a part of it.”
And what would GM River Days be without its signature food court that will feature dozens of eateries, inclusive of the Soaring Eagle Cuisine Machine? Additionally, Bert’s Market Place, Coach Insignia, Famous Dave’s BBQ, Beja Smoothies will join other vendors to satisfy the palates of festival attendees.
“Each year Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort looks forward to showcasing our outstanding cuisine and world-class resort during River Days,” said Raul Venegas, Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort’s director of marketing & entertainment. “This festival gives us the unique opportunity to interact with people across the region while supporting a great organization.”
For the complete schedule of GM River Days’ entertainment, activities and other events, log on to www.riverdays.com, or phone 313.566.8200.