History & Profile

A Community Tradition since 1984

A2SF champions performing arts, outdoor entertainment, and community spirit. In addition to a nearly four-week festival each June that attracts a diverse audience of over 80,000 people and offers over 200 concerts, art exhibitions, kids activities, spectacle, and film screenings, A2SF presents compelling experiences throughout the year.

Founded by Eugene Power, and established as a partnership between the City of Ann Arbor and the University of Michigan, early seasons emphasized classical music and theater, but have since become more popular and diverse in nature, encompassing a breadth of performance genres. Today, the June festival offers two concurrent series. The outdoor centerpiece at Top of the Park offers admission-free concerts, movies, open-air spectacles, and unique family attractions held along a beautiful U-M campus green. The indoor, ticketed series features world-class music, dance, contemporary circus, and comedy.

A2SF continues to grow as a major year-round cultural leader in Washtenaw County and as an internationally recognized celebration of arts that enriches the cultural, economic, and social vitality of the region.

For nearly four decades, A2SF  has hosted such luminaries as Ella Fitzgerald, Johnny Cash, Dave Brubeck, Ray Charles, Dizzy Gillespie, Marcel Marceau, Aretha Franklin, Tony Bennett, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Garrison Keillor, Willie Nelson, Elvis Costello, Gladys Knight, Chris Isaak, Bonnie Raitt, Diana Krall, Ingrid Michaelson, Michael Franti & Spearhead, Andrew Bird, Lily Tomlin, Circa, Steve Martin, Trombone Shorty, The Indigo Girls, John Waters, Melissa Etheridge, Postmodern Jukebox, Las Cafeteras, Gregory Allan Isakov, Bernadette Peters, Cake, Lyle Lovett, Momix, k.d. lang, Ira Glass, Buddy Guy, Feist, Mayer Hawthorne, John Hiatt, Taylor Mac, The Moth Mainstage, Ani Difranco, Meow Meow, Los Lobos, Diana Krall, Patty Griffin and Wait Wait, Don’t Tell Me!

In addition to its mainstream presentations and regional artists, outdoor spectacle installations and performance offerings have included Australia’s Strange Fruit, The Architects of Air, Transe Express, Wild bytes’ Superhero, The Dream Engine, Erth’s Dinosaurs, Close Act Theatre’s Saurus, Polyglot’s Tangle, The Water Balloon Gladiators, David Zinn, March Fourth!, and Mucca Pazza.

The Ann Arbor District Library has created a digital archive with A2SF capturing its history by digitizing Ann Arbor News articles, 30+ years of program guides , publications, and photographs. The library is accepting contributions if you have additional A2SF memorabilia or names to add to unidentified photos. Please browse the collection and enjoy.

A2SF Digital Archive