Summer wood

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Since we’re iced indoors, venturing forth onto the frozen tundra only when necessary, for at least four months a year, it’s only natural that Detroiters relish outdoor events the rest of the year. Throw together some food, street culture and live music — especially in a town that needs no excuse to party — and the crowds gather.

Now we can add the Woodbridge SummerFest to the mix, an offering of good times, good friends and a roster of local talent, all in the comfort of one of Detroit’s most promising neighborhoods.

But with the continuing popularity of such sun-soaked annual blasts as TasteFest, Fuse-In, Pumpstock, Dally in the Alley and the Fourth Street Fair, do we really need another festival on the social calendar? Richard Rice, co-founder of the Woodbridge Creative Coalition and an area arts cheerleader, certainly thinks so. He sees the neighborhood’s SummerFest as an ideal way to “build community through creative expression.”

A strong sense of community is blossoming in Woodbridge these days. Evidence can be found at the new 555 Gallery, the Contemporary Art Institute of Detroit (formerly Detroit Contemporary), the activist community at the Trumbullplex, at a new school for the deaf, and even a bed-and-breakfast.

“We wanted this to represent all of Woodbridge, so there are two sides,” Rice says. “There’s this big ultra-hipster party, but we also invited the Boy Scouts and the churches. We wanted to be totally inclusive and we wanted something families could come to.”

Once just another neglected jewel in Detroit’s rotting crown, slowly eroding through neglect and Wayne State University’s aggressive land development efforts, Woodbridge was granted an official reprieve in the ’80s through a historic designation. This fueled restoration of its tree-lined streets and glorious Victorian houses.

The festival will take place around Selden and Brainard streets, (and part of Trumbull), with much of the action centered in the newly restored Scripps Park. There will be two stages, one dedicated to electronic music. Though many festivals claim eclectic lineups, SummerFest ranges from the gritty rock of the Capitol Cities to the thick beats of DJ Houseshoes to the ethereal folk of chanteuse Audra Kubat.


Saturday, Aug. 13, in the Scripps Park area of Detroit. Visit for details.

Corey Hall is a freelance writer. Send comments to [email protected]
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