Detroit Today: Concert of Colors festival is a love letter to Detroit’s diversity

For more than 30 years, Detroit’s Concert of Colors has showcased the city’s fusion of cultures through music.

Don Was in the WDET studio.

Originally founded by WDET’s own Ishmael Ahmed, host of This Island Earth, the Concert of Colors music festival offers a free way to celebrate the music of Detroit and the cultures of many of its inhabitants, with an attendance of over 30,000 in recent years.

The festival features a wide variety of live performances, dancing and food. This year’s Concert of Colors celebration is currently underway and will continue through July 23.

Ahmed and legendary Detroit musician and producer, as well as the host of the Don Was Motor City Playlist, Don Was joined Detroit Today to discuss the vital role Concert of Colors plays in Detroit’s cultural landscape.

Listen: Detroit’s Concert of Colors is a love letter to the city’s diversity


Ismael Ahmed is the host of “This Island Earth” on WDET. Ismael Ahmed says he hopes to honor jazz legends in the city, including Don Was. 

“I think it’s time we honor those great jazz giants of Detroit,” says Ahmed. 

Don Was is the president of Blue Note Records, a six-time Grammy winner and host of the Don Was Motor City Playlist — heard every Friday at 9 p.m. ET on WDET. He says the Concert of Colors plans to honor a number of Motor City musicians.

“We’re gonna do special tributes…it’s going to be a really cool show,” says Was. 

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    Dynamic and diverse voices. News, politics, community and the issues that define our region. Hosted by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Stephen Henderson, Detroit Today brings you fresh and perceptive views weekdays at 9 am and 7 pm.