Second Line Parade and Kozmic Picnik Returning to East Lansing

Sunday, June 18, 2017, 9:50 am
By: 
Alice Dreger

To the delight of those of us who attended these upbeat and colorful events last year, the Kozmic Picnik and Second Line Parade will again be featured at this year’s East Lansing Summer Solstice Jazz Festival. This year's Kozmic Picnik outdoor music, art, and second-line parading are scheduled for Saturday, June 24 from noon to 3:30 p.m. The fun begins with art-making and live music outside the Broad Museum and then turns into a colorful, dancing, New Orleans’ style second line parade, led by the Gabriel Brass Band, that wanders from the Broad to Albert Avenue.

As Anna Lynn Slocum reported last year for ELi’s readers, “The second line parade has its roots in New Orleans’ famous jazz funerals, and includes everything except a casket, mourning, and a trip to the cemetery. Second line parades generally include a brass band, upbeat dancing, and costume-like attire such as brightly colored suits, parasols, bonnets, and more. ‘The Second Line’ also refers to people joining in to the parade behind the first line, which in traditional jazz funerals included the family members of the deceased, the hearse, and the band. ‘Second line’ also refers to the type of upbeat, wild dancing that usually goes on in these parades.”

Attendees to the Kozmic Picnik can bring a blanket and hang out in the outdoor space of the Broad, making art from supplied materials. Last year art-making opportunities included decorating umbrellas for the parade and creating colorful fabric handkerchiefs to wave during the parade. Here’s a photo of ELi’s own Ken Sperber from last year.

This year’s Kozmic Picnik will feature internationally renowned percussionist and composer Kahil El Zabar, who, according to Festival materials, “is considered one of the most prolific jazz innovators of his generation.” Also performing will be David Murray, tenor saxophonist, who “has perfected his unique approach to improvisation.”

This year, ELi is a media sponsor of the festival. Check out our reporters' guides to and stories on this year's performances:

For a complete schedule, check out the website of the Summer Solstice Jazz Festival.