Fifty years ago, five brothers from Gary, Indiana signed a record deal with Detroit’s Motown label.
Next month, the city will honor those brothers — better known as the Jackson 5 — during the Detroit Music Weekend, a four-day-long music festival that aims to showcase all the creativity coming out of the city.
Part of the celebration will include renaming a section of Randolph St. in downtown Detroit after the group's most famous member — Michael Jackson.
The four surviving Jackson brothers will headline the festival. The group will also throw out the first pitch at a baseball game at Comerica Park, attend a reception and gala in their honor, and receive the keys to the city. Then they’ll perform in a free concert on Saturday evening.
Event staff are also working with the city to find another street to name in honor of the whole Jackson 5 group, which they hope to unveil at the festival as well.
Vince Paul is the founder and director of Detroit Music Weekend. He says last year’s festival honoring Motown singer Aretha Franklin brought worldwide attention to Detroit’s creative past and present. He expects the same to happen this year.
“I think the intention is to really examine Detroit's perception worldwide. How do they perceive us? I think there's some sort of underground, grassroots [idea that] something really cool is happening in Detroit — this really removes all doubt.”
Paul says he’s pleased with the level of enthusiasm the city has shown for honoring the Jackson 5 and the excitement about the event as a whole.
“You're able to have sort of that happy spirit of collaboration. Say, 'yes, we want this to happen,' as opposed to 'no, this is a pain.'”
The festival will feature performances of every genre of music that can be found in southeast Michigan, according to Paul. The weekend feature over 400 performers in all areas of the arts, as well as the MotorCity Market, where local artisans will sell their work.