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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ARTIST SPOTLIGHT. Familiarize yourself with Miles Mosley, called the "Jimi Hendrix of the upright bass." He plays with Kamasi Washington; has played with artists like Kendrick Lamar, Mos Def, Lauryn Hill, Korn, India Arie, Christina Aguilera and more. Prepare to be activated as he plays for you at this year's Jazz and Roots Festival on August 12! Visit www.milesmosley.com for more. ... See MoreSee Less

Experience the #UPRISING! Listen on iTunes here: smarturl.it/Uprising_iTu

June is African-American Music Appreciation Month. Started in 1979 under President Jimmy Carter, African-American Music Appreciation Month is an annual celebration of African-American music in the United States. In a 2016 proclamation, President Barack Obama noted that African-American music and musicians have helped the country "to dance, to express our faith through song, to march against injustice, and to defend our country's enduring promise of freedom and opportunity for all. ... See MoreSee Less

Check out Zaccai Curtis and Insight with Natalie Fernandez! Imagine you are under the soft lights of Court Square, listening to the music, smelling the food and enjoying the sounds of community! It's coming August 12th!!

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August 12th is the day, but a lot of work goes into making that day a success! We are looking for interns and volunteers, some starting now and even more help is needed on the day of the festival. If you would like to gain some experience in arts management, festival production, artist relations, marketing, community relations, while helping to create a successful and memorable music and arts event in downtown Springfield, send us a message! ... See MoreSee Less