Detroit Music Weekend: What you need to know

Detroit Music Weekend is a new festival that will take over the city's theater district along Madison Street from Thursday through Sunday.

Conceived by Music Hall and coordinated with a host of Detroit cultural groups, the festival is a mix of free and paid events, featuring music, arts exhibitions and retail booths.

The star of the weekend is Aretha Franklin, whose Saturday night performance will be her first free hometown show in 13 years. She's also being celebrated with a Thursday street renaming ceremony along Madison Street — to be christened Aretha Franklin Avenue — and a Friday tribute concert at Music Hall.

The Queen of Soul tops a lineup of nearly 40 entertainment performances, including a free Saturday music bill that includes "The Voice" finalist Laith Al-Saadi, country singer Josh Gracin, gospel group Selected of God and rockers Mitch Ryder & the Detroit Wheels.

Paid events include a Saturday night show from Mayer Hawthorne's band Tuxedo and Sunday's R&B Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, both at Music Hall. 

A cultural pavilion will feature exhibits and memorabilia for sale from groups including the Motown Museum, Detroit Institute of Arts, Michigan Science Center and more. 

Food and alcohol vendors will also be on hand.

Music Hall director Vince Paul is aiming to continue Detroit Music Weekend as an annual event that shows off a district featuring an array of theaters and venues. He says plans for 2018 are already in the works.

For detailed daily schedules and other visitor information, go to

Bree Birr