DETROIT -- Detroit will be sending a message to the Jackson 5 next month that "we want you back."
The four surviving brothers from the legendary Motown group -- Jackie, Tito, Jermaine and Marlon -- will headline the second annual Detroit Music Weekend, taking place June 14-17 in and around the city's Music Hall Center. They'll be among more than 500 acts taking part in the event, mostly during a free festival on June 16 that will feature more than 500 acts on five stages.
"We SHOULD have a music festival here," Jackie Jackson said on Thursday at the Music Hall. "This is the music city. This is where the music comes from. You have hip-hop, Big Sean, Aretha (Franklin), Eminem... Everybody talks about the Motown sound all over the world, so we should have a music festival here."
Marlon added that, "We're looking forward to it. Music is universal. It all accomplishes the same thing -- unity, happiness, love, peace. That's what music is about and that's what Detroit is about, too."
Besides their own show, the Jacksons will be feted with a tribute on June 15 at Music Hall, with former keyboardist Greg Phillinganes, a Detroit native, co-directing the band with Kern Brantley. The group will also throw out the first pitch at the Detroit Tigers game on June 14 at Comerica Park.
Up in the air right now is a street to be named honoring the group -- in some form. Michael Jackson Ave., on Randolph Street between Gratiot and Madison, was announced on Thursday, but the two Jacksons and their camp were surprised that it would be named after just one of the brothers. "There was a mistake," Marlon said afterwards. "It was supposed to be (named after the group), and I think it's going to be that...'cause history was made here."
Detroit's city ordinance requires any honorary street naming to be for an individual only, but sources said that talks were underway to allow for an exception to that for the Jacksons. Festival founder and producer Vince Paul explained that, "I'd like to do the other four brothers individually. It seemed appropriate to start with Michael because of his premature passing, so that's the first one we'll start with. But if I had my druthers there'll be (streets named for) Tito, Jackie, Marlon. That's where I'm going with it."
Aretha Franklin received the first street naming before last year's Detroit Music Weekend. Altering the ordinance would also allow the festival to name streets for other legendary Detroit acts, such as the Temptations, Four Tops and Supremes, without controversy.
Other Detroit Music Weekend performers include, Emmy Award-winning actor and recording artist Jeff Daniels and his son Ben's band, former Grand Funk Railroad frontman Mark Farner, the Craig Brown Band, the Gasoline Gypsies, the Will Sessions Band, members of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and more. The weekend will also include a gala dinner on June 15, a MotorCity Market featuring wares from more than 100 restaurants and retailers, and a June 17 performance by the Complexions Contemporary Ballet company.
Full schedules and other details can be found at detroitmusicweekend.org.
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