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Music, Food Highlight Cityfest Celebration

Of the Oakland Press

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Eating. Shopping. Listening to tunes.

And all in one place, no less. Does that sound like a holiday weekend or what?

While economic woes have begat sponsorship woes that have plagued nearly every festival and civic event this year, the Comerica Cityfest celebrates its 21st year in Detroit’s Midtown area with the usual array of fine food, family fun, marketplace offerings and an assortment of other activities throughout the first five days of July. It’s enough to make your stomach rumble, your eardrums buzz — and your head spin with a full slate of daily things to do.

With that in mind, here’s a dozen events not to miss at this year’s Cityfest...

Kids Rock Cityfest: The Paul Green School of Rock House Band, RipChord and 89 Cents Special are among the groups bringing music to the children’s area at Cityfest. Performances take place daily at 1:30 and 3:30 p.m.

Jazzhead: A little jazz-funk mixture is a great way to start the festival — and the holiday weekend, for that matter. This veteran group plays twice, at 5 and 6:30 p.m. Wednesday (July 1) on the Jazz & Blues Stage.

The Hentchmen: Sightings of the fierce garage rock trio have become somewhat scarce in recent years, so that should get things jumping around the Park Stage at 9 p.m. Wednesday (July 1).

Modern Skate & Surf Park: A mini half pipe will be part of the course laid out by Modern Skate & Surf’s Extreme Team so that boarders and bikers can demonstrate their skills throughout the festival.

The Motor City Horns with the Brothers Groove and Johnnie Bassett: Any one of these acts alone is worth catching. Two together are hot. All three? Sublime, especially when Bassett starts playing songs from his longawaited new album, “The Gentleman is Back” 9 p.m. Thursday (July 2) on the Jazz & Blues Stage.

“Detroit id”: Get out of the sun and step into the Fisher Building on the Second Avenue side to check out this exhibit of works by 16 Detroit area artists, including Carl Oxley III, Leni Sinclair, Niagra and famed rock drummer Johnny “Bee” Badanjek. Proceeds from purchases will benefit the New Center Council, which produces Cityfest.

Lies Unknown: This female-fronted modern rock quartet, one of the area’s new buzz bands, preps for the 89X I’m With the Band contest finals with a set at 6 p.m. Friday (July 3) on the Park Stage.

Todd Rundgren: With his latest album, “Arena,” the wizard and true star is back to rocking in the way both his ardent and more casual fans love. Catch him at 9 p.m. Friday (July 3) on the Main Stage.

Bettye LaVette: It’s always a special homecoming when this Muskegon-born R&B singing great — on a roll thanks to some well-received albums during the past few years — returns to the Motor City, where she began her recording career. 5 p.m. Saturday (July 4) on the Main Stage. Expect to hear her version of Sam Cook’s “A Change is Gonna Come” that she performed at this year’s Presidential Inauguration.

The Party Stompers with Gino Washington: The gritty garage rock tribute band teams with unsung Detroit R&B singer Washington to make some noise on the Jazz & Blues Stage at 9 p.m. Saturday (July 4).

For The Love of Mojo: Electronic music hero Carl Craig is curating this tribute to groundbreaking Detroit radio DJ the Electrifying Mojo, which will bring Kenny Dixon Jr., Rick Wilhite, Marc Duncan and Craig himself to the turntables at 2 and 8 p.m. Sunday (July 5) on the Pure Detroit Stage.

Buddy Guy: The Chicago guitarist is the biggest name — and most obvious pick to click — for a reason; decades of consistently outstanding blues performances that have fortified his richly deserved legend. Give the Guy his due at 6 p.m. Sunday (July 5) on the Main Stage.

For a full schedule of events and more, visit www.comericacityfest.com.

Web Site: www.comericacityfest.com

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