Lalah Hathaway is among the musicians set to perform during the 2023 summer concert series at the Aretha Franklin Amphitheatre in Detroit. (Shutterstock)

Springtime has finally made its way to Detroit and one of the city’s annual entertainment traditions is quickly approaching–the summer concert series at the Aretha Franklin Amphitheatre. 

The outdoor venue unveiled its 2023 lineup Monday, including artists who will be performing at its Wednesday Jazzy Nights series. The season kicks off June 7 with jazz band Incognito and saxophonist Mike Phillips. Other artists coming throughout the summer include Anthony Hamilton, Boney James, Maxwell and Lalah Hathaway. 

And there will be some Aretha newcomers too, like reggae and hip-hop group Michael Franti and Spearhead June 16 and Mexican acoustic guitar duo Rodrigo y Gabriela June 17, said The Right Productions President Shahida Mausi, whose company operates the venue. The Aretha, known for its R&B and jazz concerts, is looking to diversify its artist roster to better serve the community, she said. 

R&B singer Kem performing at a concert at the Aretha Franklin Amphitheatre in September 2022. (Photo from the Aretha Franklin Amphitheatre)

“The Aretha does have a history and a loyal audience that we have worked to serve for 20 years and we want to make sure we always meet that audience,” Mausi said. “But we also want to make sure that new audiences experience the Aretha because it is such a wonderful venue for all kinds of music.” 

The venue, formerly known as Chene Park, opened in spring 1985. The space was renamed the Aretha Franklin Amphitheatre shortly after the famous singer died in 2018.

The full 2023 concert lineup

• June 10: Anthony Hamilton & Marsha Ambrosius

• June 14: Patrice Rushen & Lin Roundtree

• June 16: Michael Franti

• June 17: Rodrigo y Gabriela

• June 21: Eric Roberson & Rahsaan Patterson

• June 28: Spyro Gyra & Bob Baldwin

• June 30: Kool & The Gang, SOS Band & Atlantic Starr

• July 5: Will Downing

• July 22: Lalah Hathaway, Boney James & Damien Escobar

• July 28: Maxwell

• Aug. 9: Najee

• Aug. 12: Southern Soul on the River

• Aug. 16: PJ Morton

• Aug. 30: Kelly Price 

• Sept. 6: Raheem Devaughn

Community service will also play a part in this year’s concert series, Mausi said. Maxwell’s July 28 performance will serve as a fundraiser for the homeless community in Detroit. The event will be part of a “Community of Hope”  weekend, where the Aretha will partner with the City of Detroit and Neighborhood Service Organization, a health and human services agency, to aid individuals in the city experiencing homelessness. 

Mausi said she’s also working to recruit employees for the summer. She said the venue usually has about 300 employees, including college interns. The internship program will start later this month, but students can still apply at Mausi said she is looking for interns to work in the marketing, finance and production departments. 

“There’s myriad of careers that are related to this industry,” she said. “If you love the industry, look behind the scenes.” 

Mausi said the people she’s looking forward to seeing the most this summer are not the artists, but the concertgoers. She said about 150,000 people visited the venue last year and hopes to see even more this year. 

“That’s what brings me joy, when I’m able to see how what we do impacts people, to see people on their feet laughing and smiling and clapping,” Mausi said, “that’s a great experience for me.” 

Tickets for Jazzy Nights start at $20, while tickets for the weekend shows begin at $39.50. Tickets can be purchased at the Aretha box office, 2600 Atwater Street, when it opens at 10 a.m. Friday or online at the Ticketmaster website. Box office hours are from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday-Friday and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays. 

Join the Conversation

1 Comment

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *