A guide to Detroit festivals to get your summer moving

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Stars and Stripes Festival.
Stars and Stripes Festival. Courtesy photo.

June 10-11 and Aug. 26-27


As if a weekend of NASCAR wasn't enough, some major musical acts have been added to the Keloorah festival at Michigan International Speedway later this month, including Third Eye Blind, Fitz and the Tantrums, GROUPLOVE, Chase Rice, and many more.

For two weekends, first on June 10-11 and again on Aug. 26-27, Keloorah fest will take over MIS with live concerts, DJs, a go-kart experience, a video game arcade, outdoor sports bar, tailgate games, foam and paint parties, and more, all on NASCAR race weekends. The activities are accessible with the purchase of both the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series admission and Keloorah admission tickets.

Michigan International Speedway is at 12626 US-12 in Brooklyn, Mich. Visit mispeedway.com/keloorah for more information.

June 11-12

Motor City Pride

How lucky are we? We live during a point in history where being gay is no longer taboo. We live during a point in history where gay men and women parade in the streets waving rainbow flags, welcoming all to join them. That's the point of Motor City Pride. It isn't just for gay people. It's for all people. The music, the entertainment, the merrymaking, and the burlesque, the drag, the Mr. and Mrs. Motor City Pride pageant — it's all part of the event that welcomes us all to spend time together.

Runs from 1-8 p.m. Saturday, June 11 and noon to 7 p.m. Sunday, June 12; Hart Plaza, Detroit; 313-537-7000; motorcitypride.org.

June 18

Summer Beer Fest

The best thing about summer in Michigan is drinking copious amounts of craft beer while enjoying the sweet, sweet sunshine. Metro Times' own Summer Beer Fest allows you to do just that (or enjoy the air conditioning inside the Royal Oak Farmers Market, your choice). There are over 150 beers and ciders available for tasting, and many of them are made-in-Michigan craft brews. There will also be plenty of food available for purchase, plus live entertainment.

Runs from 7:30-11 p.m. 316 E. 11 Mile Rd., Royal Oak; royaloakbeerfest.com/summer-beerfest; general admission tickets are $15, VIP are $20.

June 24-26

Great Lakes Food, Art & Music Festival

This year is the Great Lakes Food, Art & Music Festival's sophomore run. It's a class act with tons of great food, beer, art, live entertainment, and more. In fact, 30,000 people attended this festival last year! Attendees can expect to nosh on cuisine from over 20 local restaurants, from Italian to Asian to Polish to Mexican to barbecue and beyond. The whole thing takes place in Northville's Ford Field and Park.

Runs 5-11 p.m. Friday, noon-11 p.m. Saturday, noon-8 p.m. Sunday; 151 Griswold St., Northville; foodartmusicfest.com; free entry.

June 24-26

Detroit River Days

There will be live music from Queen of Pies Patti LaBelle, the B-52's, The Voice contestant Laith Al-Saadi, carnival rides, food, beer, and plenty more, and it's all taking place on the beautiful Detroit Riverfront. There will also be an air show, a zipline, buskers, fire performers, park activities, Diamond Jack River Boat tours, and a kids stage, and it's all happening near places like the RenCen and Atwater Brewery. Consider this a great way to enjoy the fair city of Detroit.

Runs 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday; Detroit Riverfront; 313-566-8200; riverdays.com; $3 for adults before 5 p.m., $5 after 5 p.m., children 3 and younger and adults 65 and older are free.

June 30-July 3

Stars & Stripes


Poor Macomb County. It doesn't get half the summer fun its neighboring counties have. But the return of the annual Stars & Stripes Festival helps make up for it, offering talent including native Macomber Uncle Kracker, Westland's own Josh Gracin, Styx, Seether, and Led Zeppelin 2 (the band, not the album). There'll be more than just jams, though: Expect a carnival, fireworks, a BMX stunt show, a petting zoo, a classic K-9 show, and more.

Event is 2-11 p.m. Thursday and Friday, and noon-11 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, at Freedom Hill County Park, 14900 Metropolitan Pkwy., Sterling Heights; free and open to the public; for more information, see funfestevents.net/stars-stripes-festival.

July 1-3

Corktown Strut

And here we have another brand-new art/music/food festival, which neatly coincides with Independence Day, and takes place at most major venues and bars in Corktown — PJ's, Two James, Batch, Katoi, Mudgie's, and more. The main thrust of the strut is Saturday, July 2-Sunday, July 3, with super-packed festivities planned at all the venues, including Warren Defever (His Name Is Alive) assembling a star-studded showcase at UFO Factory on Sunday, June 3. This is one not to miss.

Multiple venues in Corktown; [email protected]; corktownstrut.com; Early bird two-day pass $25.

July 1-4

Rib Fest

Metro Times and Ultimate Fun Productions kick off Michigan Rib Fest the weekend of July 1-4 at M1 Concourse in Pontiac. The new auto enthusiast development on Woodward Avenue — which includes a 1.5-mile road track — plays host to Ribfest, with multiple music stages, a kids' zone, and more.

Rib Fest is from 5-11 p.m. July 1, noon to 11 p.m. July 2 and 3, and noon to 8 p.m. July 4 at M1 Concourse, at Woodward Avenue and South Boulevard in Pontiac.

July 8-10

American Polish


Ah, another great thing about living in this great mitten-shaped state of ours are the many Polish-American festivals that take place. This particular fest is home to the official Srodek pierogi eating contest, the winner of which takes home a $500 prize (sign us up!). There's also live music from the Polish Muslims, Lenny Gomulka & Chicago Push, John Klakulak and the K-Tones, the New Brass Express, and polka country musicians. There will be a beer tent with domestic and Polish beer, a kielbasa "kafe," a craft show, rides for kids, and a Polish-American mass at noon Sunday.

Runs 4 p.m.-1 a.m. Friday, 10 a.m.-1 a.m. Saturday, and 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday; 33204 Maple Lane, Sterling Heights; 586-264-7990; americanpolishfestival.com; tickets are $2 for those 18 and older, 17 and younger are free.

July 14-17

Concert of Colors

You know what to expect from this Midtown festival — an array of high quality entertainment, from diverse cultures and styles, curated by maverick producer Don Was. This year (the 24th) seriously ups that ante with an international bent that skews toward some of the most innovative international music around. While primarily music, there are film and dance components, as well. Headliners include Nigeria's patriarch of juju music, King Sunny Ade; reunited '90s electronic alt-pop Japanese expat band Cibo Matto; and Don Was' "Detroit All-Star Revue," showcasing the 100 best Detroit songs.

Various venues in midtown Detroit; concertofcolors.com; Free.

July 15-16

Crash Detroit

Here we have the third annual Crash Detroit fest. This innovative festival invites street bands from all over the country to come and perform at "underused" locations. Street bands are marching bands, parade bands — rowdy musical entertainment that spans the second line and Burning Man. All are unamplified, mobile, and absolutely fun. The first day's spread out over various locations. The second day takes place in Roosevelt Park, for a family-friendly event with tons of food, art, and music.

July 15, various locations; visit crashdetroit.org and check social media for updates; July 16, Roosevelt Park, Detroit; starts at 2 p.m.; crashdetroit.org; Free.

July 15-17

Pig & Whiskey

This Metro Times summer festival featuring barbecue, whiskey, beer, and music is returning to downtown Ferndale. More than a dozen southeastern Michigan eateries will have their best pork, beef, and barbecue dishes available for purchase.

Jay Ray, of Jay Ray's BBQ, is returning to Pig & Whiskey for the second year. Of all the events he does, he said he enjoys this one the most.

"It's a great atmosphere, great music, and all great people that come down," Ray says.

Musical acts include Electric Six, the Beggars, and Stone Clover.

Pig & Whiskey is from 6 p.m. to midnight on Friday, July 15; 11 a.m. to midnight on Saturday, July 16; and from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Sunday, July 17 on East Troy Street in downtown Ferndale. Admission is free, but tickets must be purchased for drinks and food; all ages welcome.

July 21-24

The Ann Arbor Art Fairs

These days you'll find art fairs by different names all over metro Detroit, but Ann Arbor's is the largest and most historic, dating back to 1959. It's actually four different fairs all under the same umbrella, featuring more than 1,000 juried artists, selling everything from crafts to fine arts to T-shirts, as well as children's art, live chalk drawing, and more. Even if art isn't your thing, we dare you to attend and tell us if your eyes get bored.

Fairs run 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, July 21-23, and noon-6 p.m. Sunday, July 24; free and open to the public; for more information, see visitannarbor.org/artfair.

July 23-24

Mo Pop

Want to hear the artists that all your favorite music blogs rave about? Look no further than Detroit's own Mo Pop Music Festival. Located at the West Riverfront Park, this small yet niche lineup offers up something for everyone. You'll hear music from electronic group M83, indie rockers Glass Animals, sisterly pop/rock trio Haim, and folk band the Head and the Heart. And don't forget the food trucks, beer, and shopping from local crafters. The perfect festival for any metro Detroit hipster.

July 23-24 at West Riverfront Park, 1801 W. Jefferson Ave. in Detroit. Visit mopopfestival.com for more information.

Sundays all summer

John's Carpet House

Back in the 1980s, John's Carpet House was a juke joint run by John Estes. It had carpet tacked to every visible surface for soundproofing. The gathering moved outside when the house burned down, and after Estes died in 2006, Albert "Big Pete" Barrow took over the weekly festival. It's now held in a string of lots Barrow owns on the north side of Frederick between St. Aubin and Dubois, where live blues can draw hundreds of guests, who dance, picnic, and soak up music and sunshine. Barrow and other organizers don't tolerate any nonsense, which means it's a pleasant place for people to come together in a common love of music all summer long.

Sunday afternoons at 2133 Frederick St., Detroit; see johnscarpethouse.com for more information.

July 29-30

BFF Fest

The Best Fest Forever Fest is an all-ages, super inclusive fest that was created to celebrate and promote Michigan's diverse community music and arts scenes. Performers include Mother Cyborg, Best Exes, AM People, and Deadbeat Beat. By prioritizing the participation of women, LGBTQ, and people of color, BFF strives to be progressive, modern, and thoughtful in its curation. This is their third year, and the first in Southwest's El Club; the weekend-long event is going to rule.

4114 W. Vernor Hwy., Detroit; seraphinecollective.org. Tickets are $12 per day in advance and $14 on the day of show.

July 30-31

Maker Faire Detroit

If "people who make things" sounds like an overly broad category for a fair, wait until you see the face-melting creations that have been on display at this local version of an international sensation: robots, fire-spitting metallic contraptions, moped racecourses, flying machines, exploding Coke bottles, and even a life-size Mouse Trap game. It also includes hands-on workshops and demonstrations that offer attendees the chance to meet the out-of-control nerds who create all this weird stuff. There's also a hefty crafter component as well.

Open 9:30 a.m.-6 p.m. both days, at the Henry Ford, 20900 Oakwood Blvd, Dearborn; see makerfairedetroit.com for more information.

Second Saturdays, June-August

Midtown Getdown

The inaugural Midtown Getdown is a series of fests at the Majestic Theatre complex in the Cass Corridor. The free, all ages festival — held in the parking lot behind the Majestic — features five different band throughout each day, plus craft beer tents, craft whiskey tents, art installations, local food vendors, and pop-up shops from artists and funky store owners. There's even Deep House Yoga!

The fest occurs on June 11, July 9, and Aug. 13; 4 p.m.- 10 p.m.; 4140 Woodward Ave.; midtowngetdown.com; Free.

Aug. 6-7


Charivari Detroit returns to Belle Isle for its third year; it looks to be such an awesome party, with artists including Delano Smith, Eddie Fowlkes, Juan Atkins, Kai Alce, Terrence Parker, Ataxia, Golf Clap, DJ Godfather, the Detroit Techno Mafia and much more. This is a bit of a bittersweet event this year, as while it's sure to be the highly affordable techno party's biggest and best iteration, it's the first since co-founder Steve Dunbar passed away in May.

Belle Isle Park, Detroit; charivaridetroit.com; $25.

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