Heard on Detroit Today with Stephen Henderson

Concert of Colors Returns with Mix of In-Person, Streaming and Broadcast Events

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Image credit: Photo courtesy of Concert of Colors

Founder Ismael Ahmed discusses the tradition, significance and cultural breadth of the Concert of Colors.

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Detroit’s beloved free global music festival, the Concert of Colors, returns this year. The festival, which runs through Monday, will include a blend of live, broadcast and streamed events. It will showcase community forums, film screenings and music from around the world. This weekend, WDET will be broadcasting all 12 hours of the virtual festival, starting at 6 p.m. EST on Saturday.

We believe everybody should have access to great culture, and making it free assures that.” —Ismael Ahmed, founder of the Concert of Colors

Listen: The Concert of Colors showcases music from around the world.


Ismael Ahmed is the founder and organizer of the Concert of Colors. Ahmed also hosts WDET’s This Island Earth from 6 to 8 p.m. Saturdays.

The Concert of Colors was started by New Detroit in 1993, Ahmed explains. ”The aim of the Concert of Colors was put forward by a group called The Cultural Exchange Committee, which was a group of organizations of color in the Metro Detroit area. They wanted to share their culture but also work on questions of peace and justice,” he says. ”This year, we are lucky enough to do some small things live … But then, obviously, we will be doing things virtually again this year with WDET and [Detroit Public TV].”

Ahmed says the festival organizers work hard to ensure that all Detroit residents can experience the Concert of Colors. “We go out of our way to promote this in low-income neighborhoods in particular,” he says. ”We believe everybody should have access to great culture, and making it free assures that.”

Web story written by Molly Ryan

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