Concert of Colors will mark its 30th anniversary with a full music menu as it returns to a live, in-person event after a pair of streaming editions.
The free festival will run July 16-24, largely outdoors and centered around the Detroit Institute of Arts, serving up the kind of sounds around the world that have defined the multicultural event since its founding.
Highlights include an all-star tribute to Michigan rocker Iggy Pop, led by Don Was, and a comeback performance by politically charged and anti-war Ukrainian quartet DakhaBrakha, as well as sets by North African hip-hop group Nafada , Latin rocker Alejandro Escovedo and jazz bassist Marion Hayden in a tribute to the late Alice Coltrane.
In addition to a host of guest artists, the schedule is loaded with Detroit artists, including soul-funk ace Amp Fiddler with the Urban Art Orchestra, a duo of singer Steffanie Christi’an with spoken word artist Jessica Care Moore, rock band the Kingsnakes and funk-reggae band Mollywop, which will close the festival on July 24.
The festival will also include the premiere of a documentary looking back over CoC’s 30-year history, which began in 1993 in Chene Park as a day-long concert before spanning several days and over several scenes in Midtown. The hour-long documentary, directed by WDET-FM’s Martina Guzman, will include appearances from Concert of Colors veterans such as Dr. John, Ozomatli and Bo Diddley.
The film will also air the following week on Detroit Public Television.
This summer’s festival marks a return to live action after two years of recorded performances streamed and streamed online, ultimately garnering more than 200,000 viewers worldwide, event director Ismael Ahmed said.
“We intend to come back strong from the Covid period when we had to be virtual,” Ahmed said Wednesday during a virtual media event.
One of the festival’s centerpieces will be staged outdoors for the first time, with the local bassist and producer conducting his Detroit All Star Revue on DIA’s North Lawn on July 22. The All Star Revue had operated inside Orchestra Hall for years before moving to the Detroit Film Theater in 2019.
Was and his longtime house band will celebrate Pop music – both Stooges songs and solo work – with Detroit singers including Mick Collins, Steffanie Christi’an, Josie Pace, Don Duprie and Alison Lewis , Carolyn Striho and Scott Dailey, Steven Beggar, and Nadir Omowale.
Pop, who turned 75 in April, was described by Was on Wednesday as an accomplished Detroit entertainer and “a hero and a friend.”
“His unique blend of brutality, intelligence, energy, artistry and honesty represents all the qualities that make Detroit unique in the world,” said Was, who produced the album “Brick by Brick” from Pop in 1990 and “Avenue B” in 1999.
While CoC will kick off with a July 16 cruise of regional lowriders and a culture and racing forum on July 18, things will really pick up speed next weekend, with a full range of activities across multiple venues. of Midtown in and around the DIA.
For the handful of events inside the DIA’s Detroit Film Theater, attendees must reserve seats in advance and will need to follow the museum’s COVID-19 protocols, including proof of vaccination.
The complete program of the Concert of Colors 2022 can be found on the the festival website.
Contact Detroit Free Press Music Writer Brian McCollum: 313-223-4450 or [email protected]