Springfield Jazz & Roots Festival

Charmaine, Grace & Charles2222

Photo by EdCohen

SPRINGFIELD JAZZ & ROOTS FESTIVAL On August 6th, 2016, Springfield became the place to be for world-class jazz and roots music and culture. The third annual Springfield Jazz & Roots Festival drew an audience of 8,000-10,000 people from western MA and the New England region. The legendary musician and proud Springfield native Taj Mahal, who almost single-handedly redefined the blues sound, headlined our free, unticketed event. The Main Stage opened with high school musicians from the Charles M. Greenlee Ensemble of the Community Music School of Springfield, followed by an illustrious lineup including Jose Gonzalez and Banda Criolla, Samirah Evans and Her Handsome Devils, Heshima Moja and Ofrecimiento with American Idol finalist Rayvon Owen, Terri Lyne Carrington, and Joey DeFrancesco. The Community Stage in the church just off Court Square boasted incredible local jazz and spoken word talent. Music ranged from Latin jazz that had us all dancing, to soulful R&B vocals backed by fiery guitar, to swampy and sultry jazz that took us straight to New Orleans. New this year, we added a third venue; the MassLive lobby offered: a photo exhibit celebrating local music and arts, original performances about social issues by Springfield’s First Generation youth theater group, and an interview and performance featuring Springfield’s musical roots. Just outside, two Springfield artists gave attendees the exhilarating opportunity to help create a mural to be displayed in a Court Square storefront.

Festivalgoers feasted on wide ranging cuisine from local food and drink vendors, shopped at local artisans’ and area businesses’ booths, and learned about nonprofits serving the city. Festivalgoers also enjoyed Springfield youth dance performances between the Main Stage acts, listened to jazz poetry and jazz children’s book readings by Springfield’s Poet Laureate, improvised with unusual electronic instruments and listened to recordings of their music, and participated in various creative activities. Plus, many attended workshops by music aficionados at the Community Music School of Springfield in the days before the festival and on event day; featuring Billy Arnold on the essence of the drums, Javon Jackson on jazz improvisation, Samirah Evans on singing, and Terri Lynne Carrington on building a musical career.

Our goal is to continue to grow the reach and impact of the Springfield Jazz & Roots Festival, presenting world-class music, highlighting the cultural richness and diversity of this urban center of Western MA, giving a boost to the local economy, and engaging artists and a diverse community in fueling Springfield’s revitalization.

Visit here www.springfieldjazzfest.com

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Happy music... on the Urban Roots Stage!

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Coming down from the high of a successful 2017 Jazz and Roots Festival. But we are saddened by the violence in Charlottesville. Everywhere you hear the rhetoric of how we should unite America, but no sustainable ACTION in that regard. There is not just one answer, but the ARTS is definitely one of the answers! The arts bridges gaps across cultures, it brings all kinds of people together. One way we can "unify" America is to broaden the definition of unity by embracing diversity, and actively eradicating divisions with inclusive laws and policies. AND....all Americans, especially government, need to recognize and support the arts! We at the Jazz Fest are pro-active at creating a more unified Springfield, a more positive America. ... See MoreSee Less

The Monday after the Festival: We are returning furniture to our generous supporters: Kimball Condominiums and the Community Music School of Springfield. They donated the use of furniture we used for artists dressing rooms. The purple couch was especially for Ms. Lizz Wright! And Miles Mosley's group and Community Grooves enjoyed the black chairs. So thanks so much Kimball and CMSS for making our artists welcomed and comfortable. They love Springfield and will be back again! ... See MoreSee Less

What a GREAT night! Thanks to everyone who came out Saturday and also Friday night to our Jazz and Justice event. Yes yes Springfield!! ... See MoreSee Less

One of our featured performers and a Springfield native, Sarah Elizabeth Charles in an recent local interview.
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