Last year’s Olivia Dear Concert in Charlevoix
Last year’s Olivia Dear Concert in Charlevoix

Sukkot Sounds is back as a full-fledged festival complete with music, art and food.

Sukkot Sounds returns this October with a full festival lineup.

Held at Jam Handy in Detroit on Oct. 16 from 3:30-9 p.m., Sukkot Sounds Festival, which began as a grassroots initiative in 2021 to pair local musical artists and educators with the Jewish community, is back in a bigger, more expanded format to celebrate the final day of Sukkot.

The day-long festival will feature live musical performances, food trucks, interactive art installations, games and immersive activities. There will also be exclusive merchandise for sale.

Marisa Meyerson
Marisa Meyerson

“Sukkot Sounds is all about reinventing the ancient holiday of Sukkot, which is a harvest festival, into a music festival,” explains The Well’s director of operations Marisa Meyerson. The Well, which aims to build an inclusive Jewish community for local young adults, is powering the event.

Still, the ancient harvest traditions that define Sukkot will shine through during the festival, even if it leans toward a more modern approach to the holiday. Sukkot Sounds Festival will mark the last and seventh day of Sukkot, one of the most joyous and celebratory times in the Jewish calendar.

“In biblical times, the holiday was the place to be,” Meyerson explains. “It was this huge communal festival with food, music and dancing. A lot of times, that’s what a modern-day music festival feels like, so the idea is to really bring back that piece of the culture.”

Four Guiding Values

As a new twist on an ancient celebration, Sukkot Sounds Festival and the greater Sukkot Sounds initiative is centered around four core values: inclusion, balance, nature and music.
“These values are universal and really reflected upon in Sukkot,” says Rabbi Jeff Stombaugh, executive director of The Well.

Bringing the community together, environmental awareness, being able to reflect and enjoying live music are all integral to the holiday, he explains.

“These values are going to be heavily integrated into our programming,” Meyerson says. “We want people to have an amazing experience, but also take away something substantially Jewish.”

Sukkot Sounds Festival is made possible with local partnerships, such as an ongoing collaboration with the Coalition for Black and Jewish Unity.

Rabbi Jeff Stombaugh
Rabbi Jeff Stombaugh

“This has been a central one for us not only this year, but last year,” Stombaugh says. “We are also looking to the community to help sponsor the festival, which is something that’s ongoing.”

The festival’s recently released musical lineup includes rock band The Greeting Committee; hip-hop artist stoop lee; and piano songwriter Juliana Parker.

“There’s really something for everybody,” Meyerson says. “Regardless of your musical taste, there will be something for you.”

A New Look and Experience

Meyerson calls Jam Handy the perfect venue, thanks to its refurbished warehouse vibe. It will include a central stage area where musical acts can rotate performances throughout the night.

Last year’s Illingsworth concert
Last year’s Illingsworth concert

It’s a major leap from last year’s Sukkot Sounds experience, which took form as a spread-out series of events that included live backyard concerts and one live-streamed concert. Now, as normal life steadily returns following the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, there are more options.

Stombaugh believes that this year, festival attendees will enjoy a bigger, better and more extravagant Sukkot.

“There will be unexpected experiences with music, how things are framed and the food,” he says. “The art activities will also be experiential and exciting.”

Last year’s stoop lee livestream concert
Last year’s stoop lee livestream concert

Tickets are available for purchase in three price tiers. It includes general admission at $36, general admission plus at $50 and VIP at $100. Find them at https://tinyurl.com/mks6k2kr.

In addition to a ticket, general admission plus includes three snack/drink tickets for eligible items. VIP includes four snack/drink tickets for eligible items, VIP parking and a swag bag valued at more than $50. Vaccination and a booster for COVID-19 are required for entry.
“The atmosphere is going to be really electric,” Stombaugh says. “We’re aiming for magic.”

Find more information at www.sukkotsounds.com/festival22.

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