The Promoter I Love : 2018 : Jerry Downey Jr.
The promoter is the person behind the curtain that makes a party truly special. Along with sound and talent, the promoter is an integral part of the experience. They bring all of the elements together to create a work of cultural art. Jerry Downey is one of Detroit’s best.
Jerry’s mission has always been to provide music programming that is true to the culture while opening the door to the next generation of working-class artists. He creates an atmosphere that his friends, mentors, and himself would warmly embrace.
In 2018 he wrapped up residencies at Grasshopper Underground and Northern Lights Lounge. In 2019 he will continue his residencies at Temple Bar (Sexual Tension), Body Shop Gallery (Small Hours Detroit), Bucharest Grill, and Como’s Ferndale once remodeling is complete. 2019 looks to be his busiest year yet with the addition of monthly parties at the new Backstreet, along with a handful of other projects which will be announced soon.
What are the elements of a good party for Jerry? “During my tenure as a promoter, I’m starting to have more self-actualized goals when it comes to throwing parties. I now see organizing parties as an opportunity to shift the focus from a hedonistic free-for-all environment to a worthier community-based cause. Although I have always collaborated with visual artists to create an elevated atmosphere, I now see myself leaning towards collaborating with charitable organizations and nonprofits. Knowing that you are able to benefit your community without sacrificing any of the elements of having a good time is ultimately what makes the effort I put into organizing events worth it to me.”
All of the changes to our city have made Jerry refocus a bit. “The distribution of wealth and development is centered in one major area of the city and this is pushing the underground club culture further towards the outskirts. Although there are still many great venues for underground dance music downtown, it’s difficult for the mainstream and underground to coexist with the way Detroit is growing. I fully embrace this because Detroit is a large city and this forces creatives to venture outside of conventional avenues and encourages participation and investment in underutilized communities in order to preserve our culture.”
When asked what makes parties like his possible in Detroit, Jerry said “Detroit is home to so many talented artists. Knowing that at any given night there could be a dozen world-class artists in the building who are just as, if not more, capable of doing what you’re doing really keeps you on your toes while performing and sets the bar for performance high. This alone keeps me from being complacent and pushes me to step outside of my comfort zone while looking ahead towards the next project.”
The Detroit that Jerry loves is “alive and well”.