Art Activities, Music, and more!

Summer Sounds – Stage on Main


The Stage on Main is presented by WEMU 89.1, featuring one of the top music clubs in the world, The Ark, a non-profit organization presenting the best of traditional and contemporary live music in downtown Ann Arbor over 300 nights each year. At The Ark, performers and audiences connect in a state-of-the-art listening room for an intimate music experience. We’re excited to bring live music each evening of the fair to the Stage on Main at the corner of Main and William in the Palio lot.  Stop by and join one of the best street parties of the year!

LOCATION: Corner of Main & William in the parking lot next to Palio Restaurant

Tony Furtado; Joe & The Ruckus; Jordan Hamilton; Phillip-Michael Scales

2024 Performance Schedule:

Thursday, July 18

10am-1pm – Neutral Zone
2-5pm – Prison Creative Arts Project
6-7pm – Phillip-Michael Scales The Ark logo

Growing up, PHILLIP-MICHAEL SCALES didn’t understand what it meant that  his aunt’s close friend, the guitar player who called him “Nephew” and he called  “Uncle B,” was B.B. King. Once Phillip-Michael began guitar less, the  significance became so clear that he shied away from soloing and most things  blues. Instead, he fell in love with songwriting when an English teacher told him  “A great writer can make their reader identify with anyone.” The trouble was he  couldn’t find his story in the blues. With a fierce independent streak and a  passion for performing, Scales fronted his own indie bands, wrote and recorded  his own music, and worked to make a name for himself on his own terms. All the  while, his “Uncle B” just smiled a knowing smile and encouraged him to “stay  with it.” Their relationship grew closer as Scales began to discover “the blues” in  his personal and professional life. When his Uncle B passed away, Scales began  incorporating more of the blues into his music as a way to honor him. “These  days I’m finding more of my story in the blues. A lot has led me here between  politics, my identity, and the idea of Legacy.” The result is a sound he calls “Dive  Bar Soul” which takes a bit of indie rock storytelling and couples it with the  passion of the blues. 

You can hear his latest song “Light Up the Sky” getting frequent air-play locally  on ann arbor’s 107one. It’s the first single from Phillip-Michael’s upcoming LP,  “Good to Be Here”.  

7:30-8:30pm – Joe & The RuckusThe Ark logo

THE RUCKUS is a collective with the goal of recontextualizing classic funk and soul  music within our 21st century world. They formed during the pandemic and emerged  from lock-down as changed people in search of new live music experiences from those  typically seen pre-pandemic. The Ruckus rose to and surpassed that expectation,  providing electrifying live concerts with repertoire ranging from the father of funk, James  Brown, to the king of soul, Stevie Wonder, and beyond into more modern artists and  have now expanded from their hometown to NYC, Chicago and Detroit. Their upcoming debut single is set to release in early 2024 in preparation for their debut EP later in the  year.

Friday, July 19

10am-5pm – Amplify and WCC Stage Takeover

The Amplify Project and Washtenaw Community College (WCC) will curate a set of performances on Friday, July 19 from 11am to 5pm. The local acts, many who are direct products of WCC’s arts programming and degree programs, span a wide range of genre and flavor and are sure to bring a pleasant flair to the day’s activities.

10:00am- Dr. Rod Wallace

Dr. Rod Wallace is a Hip Hop performer and educator whose work centers around Hip Hop production and creation as a tool in schools and communities to promote self-awareness and social justice. Wallace completed his PhD from EMU in 2023 with a dissertation entitled, ” Step in the Arena: A Narrative Inquiry, Autoethnographic Exploration of Black Male Educators from the Hip Hop Generation Who Rhyme, Teach, and Get Free.” Wallace has released six Hip Hop projects, produced or engineered on dozens of other works, and has performed or presented across the region including the Ann Arbor Summer Festival and Ohio State University. Wallace executive produced the critically acclaimed “Formula 734” hip-hop documentary for men of color with Washtenaw County My Brother’s Keeper and co-founded the Amplify Project, exchanging recording and production resources to independent musicians for volunteerism to community organizations. Wallace also owns Zero Noize Media, producing music-based programming that is socially conscious and educationally rich. 

10:45am- Garrett Sky

11:30am- Julia Esquivel

Julia Esquivel is an indigenous singer songwriter from Ohio with familial roots in Mexico. Drawn to ethereal sounds, Julia incorporates themes of dreams, hopes, and the progression of time into her songwriting, along with influences like Bon Iver, Nemahsis, and Omar Apollo. Julia is passionate about equal rights for everyone, and hopes to be the representation she saw so sparsely growing up.

12:00pm- Entrepreneurship Center at WCC Visual Arts Pitch Contest

12:30pm- Adri Friebel

Adri Friebel is a classically trained bassoonist who is also an electronic and atmospheric producer and engineer. He considers himself the world’s only odd-time jazz bassoon player. Adri is heavily influenced by bands like Tool.

1:15pm- Rockwell Music Therapy

Music Therapy is the clinical and evidence-based use of music interventions to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship by a credentialed professional who has completed an approved music therapy program. Rock Well Music Therapy, created by Graham Rockwood, music therapist (MT-BC), uses music for non-musical goals ranging from social integration, increasing self-esteem, using music making/recording as coping skill to manage mood and focusing on ability not disabilities.

2:00pm- Blue Iris featuring Mekhi Mitchell

Blue Iris is a collective of passionate and talented young musicians constantly exploring improvisational music blending elements of Hip-Hop, R&B, and Jazz. Their performances have no genre or boundaries as they seek to foster joy in audiences of all sorts.

2:30pm- Entrepreneurship Center at WCC Performance/ Theater Pitch Contest

3:00pm- Lauren Blackford

Lauren Blackford is a southeast Michigan-based singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist. From folksy ballads to alternative rock, her emotion-driven melodies couple unexpected yet refreshingly honest lyricism. While her live performances emphasize wistful acoustics, Lauren’s eclectic indie production shines behind the scenes. As early as age 5, the now 20-year-old exhibited vocal talents and an interest in piano, in which she took lessons for several years. Shortly after, she began composing original songs to the likes of Taylor Swift, Sara Bareilles, and P!nk. Spending her youth in choirs and theater productions, Lauren itched for any opportunity to perform. At 15, she began learning music production and released two demos under the alias “lauren grace” in her late teens. Following graduation, Blackford taught herself to play guitar and began performing at local cafés. Her lively performances and interpersonal charm have pegged her a fan favorite in her hometown of Milan, Michigan.

Lauren is currently producing her debut EP – a collection of songs that have stood out through years of live shows. She is also a recent WCC grad!

6-7pm – Jordan Hamilton The Ark logo

Cellist and vocalist JORDAN HAMILTON is a mix of mastery and maverick musicality;  hip-hop influenced, rhythmically layered, melodically robust. Avant garde, folk-soul  music, a key to navigate space, time, and change, gracefully, for those who use it.  Driven by diversity, drawn to the cello’s tone, cosmic strings calling souls home.  “Plucking, sawing, pounding and caressing the cello to extract sometimes other-worldly  sounds; melding live looping with classical music interludes, hip hop, and jazz.” (John  Sinkevics, Local Spins). Shared truth, delivered and triggered by melodies, experienced  as one, emanating from a deep, russet realm. Genres groomed together to represent  and inquire the soul. A different kind of symphony, hopeful enough to grow our  empathy, “part political activism, part hopefulness, part performance art, part  soundscapes, and all entirely mesmerizing.” (John Sinkevics, Local Spins) Emotional  energy crafted from integrity, immaterial and immortal, experienced at the speed of  sound, with a bit of bounce, groove by the ounce, and all the jump you’ll need to move. 

7:30-8:50pm – Tony Furtado The Ark logo

Very few musicians of any stripe so personify a musical genre as completely as TONY  FURTADO embodies Americana roots music. Tony is an evocative and soulful singer, a  wide-ranging songwriter and a virtuoso multi-instrumental-ist adept on banjo, cello banjo, slide guitar and baritone ukulele who mixes and matches sounds and styles with  the flair of a master chef (he’s also an accomplished sculptor, but that’s another story).  All of the music of America is in Tony’s music. Relix hit the nail on the head when  writing of Tony: “True talent doesn’t need categories.  

Tony has performed throughout the world at top venues and appeared at such  prestigious music festivals as the Telluride Bluegrass Festival, High Sierra Music  Festival, Jazz Aspen, Kerrville Folk Festival, Strawberry Music Festival, Winnipeg Folk  Festival, Sisters Folk Festival, San Jose Jazz Festival and countless others.

Saturday, July 20

1:15-2:15 – Out Loud Chorus

3pm-5pm – Saline Fiddlers

6-8pm – Brain Plasticity Ukulele Collective and Blueshouse The Ark logo

BRAIN PLASTICITY UKULELE COLLECTIVE is an open community of musicians  playing at all levels and abilities. Ukes? Well, it’s more like 30 different instruments.  Plasticity? Yes! The Brain Plasticity Ukulele Collective is dedicated to improving  cognition through music and the organization believes that by sharing music and 

learning how to play a new instrument, you can: “Drop a brain bomb. Fire up the  synapses. Rewire some neural pathways.” And what’s more, it’s a ton of fun! 

MIKE BROOKS, veteran blues guitar player/singer/songwriter from the UK has been  playing guitar since the age of 10, and professionally since the age of 16. His musical  career and accolades are many and varied, but include hitting the UK charts in 1979  (#28 on “the New Wave of British Heavy Metal” despite being a blues band), getting a  cease and desist order from Walt Disney Corp for using a band name too close to that  of a cartoon mouse, opening for bands such as the Yardbirds, the Animals, Wishbone  Ash and Nine Below Zero, and playing in some of the most famous venues anywhere  such as London’s Marquee, and, well, The Ark! In addition to leading BLUESHOUSE  and fronting the Brain Plasticity Ukulele Collective, he also works with Ann Arbor’s youth  at the Neutral Zone, a continuation of a youth music project begun in the UK called  Electric896, which taught disengaged youth how to rock the blues.

Chalk the Walk with David Zinn

Chalk the Walk is presented by The Guild of Artists and Artisans, featuring Ann Arbor’s own world-renowned Artist David Zinn. Recognized globally for his clever and improvised chalk street art, Zinn will be creating his original temporary chalk work live during the Ann Arbor Summer Art Fair event. Sidewalk chalk will be available during all fair hours so that fairgoers can join in on the creativity and add their own mark on this year’s Ann Arbor Art Fair.

HOURS: 1-3PM Thursday, July 18 & Saturday, July 20 [in case of rain these may be rescheduled to Friday, July 19]

LOCATION: Near the corner of Liberty and Fifth Ave. in front of the Post office

WE ROAR – in partnership with Prison Creative Arts Project;

We Roar is an exhibition of extraordinary artwork and poetry by 40 people imprisoned in England and the USA. All were sent three pieces of inspiration and set the challenge of responding creatively. The strength of the resulting artworks and creative writing speaks with a passion and humanity that cannot be ignored. The resulting pieces will be exhibited at this year’s Ann Arbor Summer Art Fair (US) and a digital exhibition of the project will be screened through prisons in Michigan, and all 10 UK participating prisons.

Project creator Faye Claridge said: “The project aims to raise the public profile of people in prison and their experiences and to support incarcerated individuals to make connections that are really needed to help to tackle the inequalities and mental health crises faced by many.”

LOCATION: on East University between South University and Willard

Paint the Town – July 16th 5-9PM

Presented by


Come out and Paint the Town to be a part of this year’s Block pARTy – A community event preluding the Ann Arbor Art Fair:

  • Downtown Ann Arbor, on Liberty, State and Main Streets

  • Free Entry

  • LIVE David Zinn Chalk Art at 5 PM and 7 PM

  • Plein Air Painting

  • LIVE Music and Activities in the Street

  • Great food and drinks!