DETROIT (April 26, 2017) – The Detroit RiverFront Conservancy (DRFC) announced details today regarding Detroit’s unofficial kickoff to summer, the 11th Annual GM River Days presented by Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort on June 23-25, 2017. This year’s GM River Days will include new activities, entertainment and restaurants, as well as the return of festival favorites on land, water and in the sky.  

“GM River Days brings Detroiters and visitors together to enjoy our beautiful riverfront,” said Matt Cullen, Board Chairman, Detroit RiverFront Conservancy. “Earlier this year, we announced plans to add even more park space to improve community access to the riverfront. Our goal is to continue to provide a vibrant waterfront for everyone to enjoy.”

“For more than a decade, GM River Days has celebrated the transformation of the Detroit riverfront into a world-class gathering place,” said Mark Wallace, president & CEO of the Detroit RiverFront Conservancy. “The Detroit RiverWalk brings out the best in our community, and GM River Days is a great time for us to gather together and enjoy this great city.”

“GM is proud to continue to support a wonderful organization and a Detroit summertime tradition,” said John Blanchard, director of local government relations, General Motors. “GM River Days is a great way to bring Detroiters, as well as people across the region, together for a fun-filled weekend.”


Headlining National Music Acts

This year’s festival will feature a star-studded music lineup on the Quicken Loans National Stage including rock superstar Ann Wilson of Heart along with local tribute band FiftyAmpFuse on Friday evening. Soul sensation The Isley Brothers featuring Ron Isley, along with Grammy-nominated Soul and R&B singer Freddie Jackson will perform on Saturday night. Grammy-winning R&B group 112 will perform on Sunday evening along with Grammy-nominated R&B singer Joe.VIP premier seats are available for purchase during the headlining concerts. Tickets cost $35 and include admission to the festival. Tickets can be purchased online through A full music lineup of more than 40 music acts across four different stages will be announced in the coming weeks.

New Festival Activities

Adventure seekers will get a thrill on the all-new 30-foot high tube slide in the William G. Milliken State Park and Harbor. Riders will go through a pitch-black tube that quickly drops them at a steep, 40-degree angle with speeds up to 20 mph for a nominal charge. Motorcyclists are invited to park their bikes for free on Atwater Street between St. Antoine and Rivard starting at 6 p.m. on Bike Night on Friday, June 23. Bikers and their passenger will receive free admission wristbands to rock-n-roll with Ann Wilson of Heart for the evening if arriving on a motorcycle.

Festival Favorites on Land

The Flagstar Bank Kids Zone produced by The Parade Company is introducing a new carnival-themed Kid Zone. Families are invited to “step right up” into The Kids Zone action, which will include story time, magic and puppet shows, strolling carnival buskers, as well as activities with the Detroit Institute of Arts, Michigan Science Center, Arts & Scraps and more. Additionally, an entertaining lineup will perform on theMeijer Kids Stage. Rivard Plaza will also be the site of a 50-ton sand sculpture presented by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and designed by Team Sandtastic. Parents can pick up a free sticker for additional activities in the Kids Zone from the Flagstar Bank booth at the festival. 

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will provide a variety of hands-on activities, including a rock climbing wall for children and adults in the William G. Milliken State Park & Harbor during the festival. Guests can stroll through the park and talk with wildlife and fish experts, foresters and conservation officers. Booths will be set up across the park to learn about Michigan’s birds of prey and reptiles. Festivalgoers will also have a chance to try their hand at archery and other outdoor skill challenges.

Festival Favorites in the Air

Adrenaline seekers will get a chance to soar directly above the GM River Days action on The MetroPCS Zip Line again this year. The 300-foot long zip line will send two people at a time straight through the festival. Tickets will cost $15 for one ride or two for $25.

The air show, a crowd favorite,will return over the Detroit River for its third year. Staged by the Tuskegee Airmen National Historical Museum, show performances will be at 4 p.m.on SaturdayandSunday. New this year, the show will include a Heritage Flight which consists of a WWII aircraft and its modern equivalent flying individually and then joining together for passes with the modern aircraft flying on the wing of the WWII aircraft. Also scheduled to appear are aerobatic pilots flying upside down and sideways, jets from the World Heritage Air Museum, an airplane flown by the Tuskegee Airmen in World War II, several racing airplanes, and a demonstration of precision formation flying by the museum’s own four-aircraft demo team. The airshow will feature emcees at all festival stages. This is one of the very few airshows in all of North America that features mostly local performers.

Festival Favorites in the River

As always, festivalgoers can take advantage of great fun on the water with Diamond Jack River Tours. In addition, festival favorite Typhoon Tommy and his world-class jet ski team will use the Detroit River as their stage when Typhoon Tommy brings the Detroit River USA Freestyle Championships to GM River Days. Pilots will use a variety of freestyle jet-skis and hydroflight devices to perform big air jumps, backflips, corkscrew spins and underwater dives for the crowds along the riverfront. The United States Coast Guard Auxiliary will help celebrate the weekend with rescue demonstrations and the opportunity to board and tour a Coast Guard cutter.

Pepsi Taste of Detroit Food Court

The Soaring Eagle Cuisine Machine will once again be the star of the Pepsi Taste of Detroit Food Court. In addition, more than a dozen local eateries will present a wide variety of dining options throughout the weekend, including Soaring Eagle Cuisine Machine, AA Ice Cream, Amicci’s Pizza, Andre’s Louisiana Seafood Sandwich Shop, Atwater Bistro, Beans & Cornbread, Big Mike’s Mexican Grill, Build-A-Burger, Bowlder’s Concession Smoothie & Lemonade, Detroit Shrimp & Fish, Doggs Your Way, Famous Dave’s, The Smoke N Pig, Jackson’s Five Star Catering, Mercurio Foods, Mr. Deep Fried, Niko’s Gyros, Sister Love Treats Italian Ice and Panda Express.

“The Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort looks forward to bringing delicious food to the riverfront again this year,” said Raul Venegas, director of marketing & entertainment, Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort. “We enjoy interacting with the community and giving them a taste of our cuisine with our food truck, the Soaring Eagle Cuisine Machine, all while supporting a great organization.”

The 2017 GM River Days presented by Soaring Eagle Casino & Resortstarts on Friday, June 23 at 11 a.m. The festival spans from the William G. Milliken State Park and Harbor to the Detroit/Wayne County Port Authority Terminal & Dock, just past the Renaissance Center. Festival hours are 11 a.m. – 10 p.m. on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The Conservancy will charge a $3 admission fee (and $5 after 3 p.m.) to help underwrite programming and operational costs for the festival. Admission to the festival is FREE before 5 p.m. on Friday, June 23. Visit for a full lineup for events.

GM River Days presented by Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort is supported by General Motors, Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, Flagstar Bank, AARP, Pepsi, Michigan Lottery, SPAM ®, Meijer, Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center, National Vision, Imperial Beverage, Lagunitas Brewing Company, Sprint, MetroPCS, T-Mobile, Eagle Security, Help Eliminate Auto Thefts, Tito’s Handmade Vodka, Barefoot Winery and Made in Detroit.