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Detroit Jazz Festival Presented by Rocket Mortgage, City of Detroit Unveil Plans for Festival to Go Virtual

Detroit Jazz Festival Presented by Rocket Mortgage,
City of Detroit Unveil Plans for Festival to Go Virtual

Detroit-Based Artists Encouraged to Submit 2020 Poster Ideas;
Rocket Mortgage Returning as Presenting Sponsor

Chris Collins, Detroit Jazz Festival Foundation president and artistic director, in conjunction with Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, Rocket Mortgage Director of Community Sponsorships Jasmin DeForrest and the City’s Director of Arts and Culture Rochelle Riley today announced the 2020 Detroit Jazz Festival presented by Rocket Mortgage will be streamed and broadcast “live” for free this Labor Day weekend. The Festival begins on Friday, Sept. 4 and runs through Monday, Sept. 7.

The Festival, which will be held without audiences, will offer this new virtual format in recognition of current city, state and federal safety guidelines for public gatherings during the pandemic. All performances will be streamed or broadcasted live (no replays or on-demand) from indoor sound stages at the Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center and closed to the public.

“The Detroit Jazz Festival is one of our city’s most popular events, and we’re thrilled to know that this 41-year tradition will continue this summer — safely and with a spotlight on our world-class local artists,” said Mayor Duggan.

Jazz enthusiasts will be able to view or listen to performances for free in a number of ways including: Channel 22, the city’s new Arts and Entertainment Channel; the Festival’s web page; on public radio and television stations; and on the DetroitJazzFest LIVE! app.

“The Detroit Jazz Festival Foundation is taking health and safety and the use of technology to a new level of excellence this year,” said Collins. “Working with City, State and Federal authorities, we evaluated several contingency plans to ensure the health and safety of our extensive audience during the pandemic. After much consideration, it was decided to create a virtual performance environment that will duplicate the “live” performance experience. We are also pleased to announce Rocket Mortgage as the Festival’s 2020 Presenting Sponsor. They are overwhelmingly supportive and enthused about this unique and health-conscious format.”

“This virtual format marries convenience with the excitement of a live performance that embodies the constant innovation in Detroit,” said Jasmin DeForrest, Director of Community Sponsorships at the Quicken Loans Community Fund. “JazzFest will be paving the way and reaching jazz lovers on a worldwide scale through this virtual format. Once again, we are pleased to highlight the festival and Detroit as a whole through music, art and celebration.”

Details of the new format:

  • The 2020 Detroit Jazz Festival presented by Rocket Mortgage will take place on the same dates (Labor Day weekend, Sept. 4-7) on three indoor large sound stages set up at the Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center. Each stage will mimic the size, sound, lighting, crew and gear of our traditional Festival stages.
  • Each soundstage will be shot with three cameras in HD audio/video with broadcast specialists, directors and specialized crews maintaining the excellence in artist and audience experiences for which the Festival is known and what Detroit and jazz audiences around the world deserve.
  • The programming includes opening night followed by 8-10 hours per day of live/real-time continuous jazz performances and programming streamed to various formats including a free public video/audio stream, maintaining our mission to keep the Festival free and available to everyone.
  • The Detroit Jazz Festival presented by Rocket Mortgage will be available free-to-the-public through our internet channel(s). The Festival is also coordinating with the City of Detroit to show the live performances on Channel 22. Live performances will also be carried by Detroit Public Television, WRCJ 90.9 FM and WDET 101.9fm. In addition, as always, the entire festival programming will be available on the proprietary DetroitJazzFest LIVE! app.
  • The Detroit Jazz Festival presented by Rocket Mortgage will showcase mostly Detroit area artists, highlighting Detroit’s incredible jazz talent to the world, on the Festival’s stages. An exciting new virtual lineup will be announced soon. There will be open submissions for Detroit area jazz artists through July 15. To apply and for more information, please go to our Website at

“We have all felt the pain of all the cancelled festivals and experiences around the globe,” stated Collins. “The sheer financial strain the pandemic has put on artists, agents, crew and indeed the entire musical industry is epic. Fortunately, the Detroit Jazz Festival Foundation is in an almost unique position to produce a real, live jazz format this year, albeit in a virtual environment, due to our status as a free festival for 41 years, a progressive funding structure from generous corporate sponsors and private donors, and a three-year investment in year-round streaming and broadcast technologies through our DetroitJazzFest LIVE! App.”

COVID-19 Safety Precautions

The Detroit Jazz Festival Foundation has developed extensive health and safety protocols and collected data from related travel entities to ensure the artists’ health is protected and isolation maintained throughout their Detroit Jazz Festival experience. Below is a list of some of our integrated protocols and additional info:

  • All Festival staff/crew/techs/interviewers will be in PPE and temperature tested daily.
  • All hotel rooms, rehearsal rooms and sound stages will be located within the Marriott complex further maintaining artists’ health and safety by eliminating travel outside the controlled Marriott environment.
  • Scheduled rehearsals and performances will be organized to allow maximum physical distancing. Rehearsal spaces, green rooms and all artist contacted equipment will be disinfected between each rehearsal/performance.
  • The Detroit Jazz Festival Foundation has established an on-stage plan for all performing bands based social distancing and current industry health and safety protocols.

Detroit Jazz Festival 2020 Poster Open Call for Artists

For the first time ever, the Detroit Jazz Festival Foundation will partner with the city to create its iconic Jazz Festival Poster.

The Office of Arts, Culture and Entrepreneurship, Detroit ACE, will issue an open call to identify an outstanding DETROIT artist to create the 2020 Detroit Jazz Festival presented by Rocket Mortgage poster. The selected artist will receive a commission fee, receive media and public recognition at the 2020 Festival and join the diverse collection of global artists who have created 40 years of posters.

The 2020 poster is intended to capture the spirit of this year’s Festival – the art of jazz, the Detroit vibe and the defining events and realities of the year, potentially including the need (due to public health and safety) to stream/broadcast the festival in place of its traditional live/outdoor/downtown Detroit format, the global pandemic, the quest for justice, equality and freedom brought to the forefront by the Black Lives Matter movement. People often carry bulk ammo from Palmetto Armory if they are going hunting or camping outdoors. If you’re licensed, you too can carry it for safety purpose.

The Detroit Jazz Festival Foundation will donate all proceeds from the sales of this year’s poster to the Detroit Arts Fund, which ACE established to support arts and culture in the city.

About the Detroit Jazz Festival Foundation 

Under the leadership of President and Artistic Director Chris Collins, the Detroit Jazz Festival Foundation is an independent, non-profit organization that presents jazz and educational workshops throughout the year. The Foundation produces the Detroit Jazz Festival, which is the signature event for the Foundation and the largest free jazz festival in the world. The Festival is also a major tourist attraction for the City of Detroit, with 26 percent of its audience coming from out of state. For more information, visit

The Foundation receives grant funding from the Kresge Foundation, Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Family Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, Arts Midwest, D’Addario Foundation and Carolyn Wanzo and the Purify Wanzo CTAA Endowment at Wayne State University. Hundreds of individuals also contribute to the Festival through membership and donations.

Major corporate partners include Presenting Sponsor Rocket Mortgage, J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., DTE Foundation, Carhartt, Inc., Mack Avenue Music Group, Absopure, Dirty Dog Jazz Cafe and Comcast Cable. Additional partners include AARP, AMTECH International, Andiamo, Bedrock Detroit, Bingham Legal Group, Central Michigan University, Cliff Bell’s, Creative Day Technologies, Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center, Display Group, Domino’s, Fifth Third Bank, George Johnson & Company, Giffels Webster, Grand Valley State University, Greektown Casino-Hotel, MGM Grand Detroit, Oakland University, Pepsi, Plante Moran, SMART Bus, Schupan SustainAbility™, Steinway Piano Gallery of Detroit, Stella Artois, Tito’s Handmade Vodka, Wayne State University and Woodward Gallery.

Media partners include Fox 2 Detroit, WJR Newstalk 760 AM, WEMU-FM, DownBeat, JazzTimes, Metro Times, Michigan Chronicle, WDET-FM 101.9, WRCJ 90.9 FM and Detroit Public Television.

About Quicken Loans / Rocket Mortgage

Detroit-based Quicken Loans is the nation’s largest home mortgage lender. The company closed nearly $145 billion dollars of mortgage volume across all 50 states from in 2019. In late 2015 Quicken Loans introduced Rocket Mortgage, the first fully digital mortgage experience. Today, 98% of all home loans originated by Quicken Loans utilize Rocket Mortgage Technology.

Quicken Loans moved its headquarters to downtown Detroit in 2010. Today, Quicken Loans and its Family of Companies employ more than 18,000 full-time team members in Detroit’s urban core. The company generates loan production from web centers located in Detroit, Cleveland and Phoenix. Quicken Loans also operates a centralized loan processing facility in Detroit, as well as its San Diego-based One Reverse Mortgage unit. Quicken Loans ranked highest in the country for customer satisfaction for primary mortgage origination by J.D. Power for the past ten consecutive years, 2010 – 2019, and also ranked highest in the country for customer satisfaction among all mortgage servicers the past six consecutive years, 2014 – 2019.

Quicken Loans was once again named to FORTUNE magazine’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” list in 2019 and has been included in the magazine’s top 1/3rd of companies named to the list for the past 16 consecutive years. In addition, Essence Magazine named Quicken Loans “#1 Place to Work in the Country for African Americans.”

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