Chelsea’s Sounds & Sights on Thursday Nights returns for 2021 season

CHELSEA – Sounds & Sights on Thursday Nights is back! This year’s abbreviated 7-week long summer concert series announces a 2021 line-up filled with an amazing variety of art and live music. Chelsea Area Festivals & Events (CAFE) is excited to welcome everyone back to Chelsea to explore its unique blend of music, arts, shops, and dining.

“We really missed Sounds & Sights last year,” said Craig Common, CAFE board president, “but I think that makes this year all the sweeter. We’re rejuvenated and excited. We’ve got a great lineup and invite the Chelsea community and visitors to come and explore all that our vibrant downtown has to offer.”

The 2021 season kicks off on Thursday, July 1, at 6:30 p.m., featuring the Motor City Boogie Woogie Kid Matthew Ball and Chalk Artist Chris Monaghan, both ‘CAFE Grants for the Arts’ recipients. Throughout the summer, Monaghan will be joined by fellow chalk artist Seth Allison in a “How to Chalk” series which inspires spectators to create their own chalk artwork.

Seven different entertainment stages — from the south end of downtown Chelsea to the north end — will be home to plenty of live music. Visitors will hear everything from Americana to Jazz to Rock to Soul to Zydeco. There’s dance, too, from another grant recipient, Ballet Chelsea. As always, children will join in the fun —puppetry and magic shows, make and take crafts…and even circus acts! The complete schedule can be found at or by following facebook and instagram handles @chelseafestivals.

Entertainment Chair Gary Munce said it’s exciting each year when it comes time to begin planning for the upcoming Sounds & Sights on Thursday Nights.

“It takes many hands to make it happen, but it’s just so amazing to see it all come together,” Munce said. “When everything is set in place and we are all strolling down Main Street listening to great music with our families and friends, I’m thinking, ‘It just doesn’t get any better.’”

All of the artists and musicians are paid by CAFE, a non-profit who’s mission is to enrich Chelsea, and the surrounding communities, by promoting the presentation of and participation in quality performing and visual arts.

Performance slots are in hot demand each year.  Highlights include the Cadillac Cowboys, a jazz guitar combo called Fun on the Frets, the soul and Motown groove of Salmagundi, and local favorite, Chelsea House Orchestra. For kids of all ages, Detroit Circus brings dazzling aerial antics, fire dancing, and fun sideshow acts.

Also returning to Sounds & Sights on Thursday Nights, is SculptureWalk, now in its 12th year. The 2021-22 SculptureWalk features 16 outdoor sculptures set in public locations throughout historic downtown Chelsea. Visitors can download or pick up a walking map at downtown businesses.

Common said that almost every event presented in Chelsea is because of great partnerships and community support. And Sounds & Sights is no different.

“We have over 70 businesses, organizations, and community members that donate either time, money, or both. That support allows us to put on a first-class, free event. It’s pretty amazing.”

Sounds & Sights on Thursday Nights, now in its 17th year, is presented by the Chelsea Area Festival & Events, winner of the 2020 Chelsea Area Chamber of Commerce Non-Profit Business Leadership Award. A 501(c)3 non-profit, CAFE has reinvested over $750,000 dollars back into the Chelsea community’s artists and businesses. The non-profit has helped organize many of Chelsea’s most popular events, including the Sounds & Sights Festival Weekend (on hold for 2021), Hometown Holiday, and the SculptureWalk.

Sounds & Sights on Thursday Nights runs July 1 to August 12, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. throughout downtown Chelsea. Many businesses and restaurants are open before, during, and after street events end.

For a complete performance schedule and information on places to stay and parking options, visit

Chelsea Area Festivals and Events would like to recognize and thank the 2021 Partners: American Muscle, Audio Acres, Biggby Coffee Chelsea, Bill Ballagh State Farm® Insurance, Chelsea Area Chamber of Commerce, Chelsea Area Historical Society & Museum, Chelsea Community Foundation, Chelsea District Library, Chelsea Downtown Development Authority, Chelsea Guardian, Chelsea Lumber Company, Chelsea Print & Graphics, Chelsea Retirement Community, Chelsea Rhone, Chelsea State Bank,, Chelsea Wellness Center, Cleary’s Pub, Cherry Optometry, The Common Grill, Creative Washtenaw, Cumulus Media, D&B Strategic Marketing, Dangerous Architects PC, Edward Jones – Michael O’Quinn, Edward Jones – Diane Kieliszewski, The Grateful Crow, “Jiffy” Mixes, Hardwood Solutions, LLC, Heydlauff’s Appliances, Kiwanis Club of Chelsea, Klink & Associates – Reinhart Realtors, Merkel Furniture & Carpet One, Michigan Council for Arts & Cultural Affairs, Mitchell Family, La Jolla Fine Jewelry, P.C. Johnson Construction, The Purple Rose Theatre Company, Parts Peddler Auto Supply Store, Rick Eder Agency – Farm Bureau Insurance, Rick Taylor – Reinhart Realtor, Riemco Design + Build, Secret Crisis Comics, Silver Maples of Chelsea, Stieper & Brust Orthodontics, Stadium Development, Sun Times News, Susan Jacobs- CPA, Surelutions, Teresa Miller, Realtor, Howard Hanna Real Estate Services, Terri & Richard McCallam Torrance Learning, Trinchero Family Estates, Ugly Dog Distillery, Village Hair Studio, Russ & Diane Weid, Wilkinson Foundation, Zou Zou’s Cafe & Coffee Bar.