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The Lookout | August 5, 2021

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JazzFest, BluesFest plan virtual concert

JazzFest, BluesFest plan virtual concert
  • On September 9, 2020

By Chloe Gregg
Staff Writer

Although there won’t be any dancing in the streets or street vendors for this year’s Old Town BluesFest, there will be just as much jazzy blues and fun.

Normally an annual live event in Lansing’s Old Town, this year’s festival will be a week-long interactive online experience. It will take place Sept. 13 to 20. due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In order to ensure the safety of all guests, the festival’s producer, Michigan Institute for Contemporary Arts (MICA), decided to host the BluesFest and JazzFest together for a week-long virtual concert.

“Our festival’s team felt that it is in the best interests of fans, volunteers and musicians to host virtual concerts this year,” said MICA’s new operations manager, Marcus Sigh.

The BluesFest and JazzFest are beaming with activities, despite being held online. There will be music workshops, newly recorded live performances, highlights from the last 20-plus years, KidzBeat activities, a chance to virtually meet the musicians, and much more.

Not only will there be live performances, some of these performances are as far away as Europe and even South America.

For those wishing the events were still in Old Town, there will be live streams coming directly from Old Town’s sound stage, too.

MICA is hosting an impressive lineup of musicians, with around five live performances going on each day. One such artist that will be featured on BluesFest is the lovely Twyla Birdsong, a blues and soul singer from Lansing, who once attended Lansing Community College.

Birdsong’s music is influenced by Etta James, Aretha Franklin and Al Green, to name a few.

“Everyone lives the blues… but I love singing the blues,” Birdsong stated on her promotional page. “The ‘blues’ is raw and honest. I am a blues singer that joyfully sings the blues – receiving a rush from exciting the crowd and making them feel what I feel.”

To find out more about the schedule, lineup, tickets and how to participate, visit