Movement 2012

The Magazine

May 24, 2011

Ann Arbor Summer Festival + Top of the Park


by Marissa McNees

Since 1984, residents of Ann Arbor and people all over the country have come to look forward to the annual Ann Arbor Summer Festival. For 28 years, this event has provided the community with entertainment in music, dance, theater and comedy, and this year, from June 17 to July 10, patrons will have the opportunity to see over 100 scheduled events.

According to the festival’s executive director, Robb Woulfe, the Ann Arbor Summer Festival got its start when founder, Eugene Power, envisioned a “summer cultural event that would connect audiences with world-class artists, bring the community together and showcase the city and state as a major arts destination.”

“Power worked in partnership with Ann Arbor and the University of Michigan to secure a place for the festival on campus and began presenting seasons of mainly classical music and theater,” said Woulfe. “Now, the programming scope is much broader, and we’ve evolved into a multi-disciplinary arts festival that attracts over 60,000 people to Ann Arbor each year.”

Heading into the 28th season, this year’s schedule represents regional, national and international artists of all disciplines. This summer, patrons will have the opportunity to see Steve Martin, k.d. Lang, Andrew Bird and Los Lonely Boys—and those are just the indoor activities.

Top of the Park, the festival’s outdoor program, has grown into a community favorite and will feature admission-free concerts, outdoor cinema, open-air spectacles and unique family attractions like extreme face-painting and a rock-climbing wall.

According to Woulfe, Top of the Park used to be featured at the Fletcher Street parking structure, but was moved in 2006 to the Ingalls Mall.

“We’ve been really pleased with the freedom the move has allowed us,” Woulfe said.

“Now, more families are spreading out on the lawn, we have multiple stages and kids’ activities, there are great local food vendors and a beer and wine garden, and we can accommodate growing audiences the festival has seen over the years.”

Along with its notable concerts, this year’s festival highlights include a hip-hop circus called Tom Tom Crew and the touring special attraction, Amococo—an enormous inflatable luminarium, which will be brought over from the U.K.

“I’m really thrilled about the season ahead,” Woulfe said. “It’s truly our biggest yet.”

Tickets for the Mainstage series are available at, at the Michigan League Ticket Office or by calling (734) 764-2538. Visit the festival’s website to enhance your festival experience by creating a customized calendar of music, movies and more.

About the Author

Tim is the publisher of iSPY and co-founder of Pakmode Media + Marketing. He's a social, vegetarian geek who recently welcomed a beautiful baby girl into his family. For any questions or suggestions in regards to design, ad sales, web, content or anything at all related to iSPY, Tim's your guy.

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