Written by Chelsea Whitaker
A preview of a brand new festival in Kalamazoo, Michigan featuring a diverse musical lineup, workshops, and more.
I am so beyond excited to announce the inaugural of Sounds of the Zoo festival!
“Creating change through music.”
Sounds of the Zoo is a multicultural music festival and symposium that seeks to empower and unite artists, industry professionals and music lovers from around the world.
This inaugural event will showcase local, regional, national, and international live music performances to be showcased at a variety of locations throughout the city of Kalamazoo.
We are conscious of the power of knowledge, and seek to accomplish educational goals by offering a series of professional music education courses, presentations/panels, and workshops that will explore a wide variety of music topics designed to empower and inform anyone involved or interested in the music industry.
We endeavor to create change through music and believe music is not only creative art but a means to connect and uplift humanity. We believe music can inspire humanity by creating connections that bridge class, gender and cultural divides. Uniting the community by supporting diversity, inclusion, as well as creating awareness towards environmental sustainability and mental health are core values we will give platforms to.
Through support from the City of Kalamazoo and private sponsorships, Sounds of the Zoo is going to be a free event that will take place September 26th thru October 2nd. Sounds of the Zoo will help in making Kalamazoo a music destination city that will create and sustain economic development and growth for years to come. This will be a fresh, innovative, and community driven festival to grow right here in Kalamazoo.
The lineup is chocked full of local favorites from all over Michigan. Cabildo, Laura Rain & the Caesars, FlyLiteGemini, Grace Theisen, and more are included on the bill. We will also be hosting a variety of workshops throughout the week, teaching musicians how to create an LLC, set up business accounts, prepare to make a record, and how to get into music journalism. But don’t be fooled. These workshops aren’t just for musicians. They are open to the public, and accessible to anyone interested. Not to mention, the entire festival is free to all! So come out, learn something, enjoy some music, and support local music and businesses.
A bit about the people behind the festival:
Creator / Executive Director
Jennifer is a talented festival director with a strong background in planning and executing events. She’s worked in and been a part of the entertainment industry for over 25 years. First, as a professional dancer, then a choreographer, booking agent, and creative director. Jennifer has a passion for music and community. It is her dream to develop a strong community that will create change and empowerment for those in the music industry - specifically here in Kalamazoo, MI. Sounds of the Zoo has been an idea floating around Jennifer’s mind for years - seeing it come to fruition after so long is a dream come true.
Co-Producer / Photographer / Writer
Chelsea is a music and editorial photographer, social media manager, and writer with over a decade of experience. They have a bachelor’s degree in Photography and a passion for music. After years of exploring creativity through different jobs, they took the next step into full self-employment in 2021, as a freelance photographer, writer, and anything else they can get their hands on. Early in 2022, Chelsea and their husband moved back to Michigan after spending a few years in Arizona. When the opportunity presented itself for them co-produce Sounds of the Zoo, it only reinforced their decision to move back to Michigan.
Full lineup and festival details: