Bluesfest a cultural treasure
- Published: August 31, 2010
In its 13th year, AACW’s Blues and Jazz Festival offers a mix of returning artists and new acts sure to entertain, and educate, audiences.
“It celebrates community and cultural diversity — it’s not just a concert,” said Faith Patterson, the event’s co-founder. “It’s not about musicians standing up but people learning.”
Kicking off the festival on Wednesday, Sept. 8 is Gospelfest, a celebration of spirituals featuring local choirs and festival performers the 5YZ Men, hailing from Lagos, Nigeria. The free-of-charge event starts at 7 p.m. at the Central Chapel A.M.E. Church.
Young R&B sensation J. Vaughn of Springfield will sing for audiences on Friday at 7 p.m. following the event’s opening ceremony at 6:40 p.m. Afterward the 5YZ Men team up with jazz cellist Karen Patterson to perform at 9 p.m. The evening’s final act is returning musician Daddy Mack, a 65-year-old bluesman from Memphis, Tennessee who will perform at 10:45 p.m.
Furthering the educational and cross-cultural mission of the festival, Karen Patterson will lead the annual Innovation Stage at 2 p.m. on Saturday, a largely impromtu collaboration between artists of all types which often includes poetry, dance, theater, culinary arts and music as diverse as reggae and country western.
On Saturday night the 5YZ Men take the stage again at 6 p.m., followed by blues rock band Bluzion at 7:30 p.m. and headliner Andrew “Jr. Boy” Jones from Dallas, Texas, the final act to perform, at 10:45 p.m. on Saturday.
“We consciously make an effort to try to bring in each year at the festival bands that are not the typical blues, jazz. It’s opening up to all of the cultures,” said John Booth, who serves on the music selection steering committee.
From 3,000 to 5,000 people are expected at this year’s festival, a celebration of the role of African-Americans in the progression of American music — from blues, jazz and rock-and-roll to hip-hop and R&B.
“First we are expressing our culture but we’re also embracing other cultures,” said Booth.
For a full article on what to expect at this year’s Blues and Jazz Festival, see the Sept. 2 issue of the Yellow Springs News.