Main Street JazzFest 2014 will carry deep MTSU ties, with Dr. Gloria Bonner co-chairing this year’s edition of the highly anticipated local music tradition.
Now in its 18th year, the annual musical celebration is set for Friday and Saturday, May 2-3, in downtown Murfreesboro. The event features free admission, free parking and free entertainment as well as a wide variety of food vendors in the heart of the city.
Bonner, special assistant to President Sidney A. McPhee in the Office of University Community Relations, said the festival is expected to attract thousands of jazz enthusiasts to downtown.
Volunteers are still needed for the two-day event, which will be held on two stages. To sign up to help, visit http://mainstreetjazzfest.net/volunteer/.
“It’s an exciting time,” said Bonner, who is co-chairing the event with husband Ray Bonner. “We’re encouraging families and community members to just hang out with us downtown.”
An added attraction this year is “Jazz After Dark,” which will showcase various artists playing live at select venues downtown after JazzFest officially ends Saturday night. Among those performing will be the latest rendition of famed R&B/soul group The Drifters.
The Southeast Tourism Society has named JazzFest one of the Top 20 Events in the Southeast for May 2014.
“This is a true music festival,” said Kathleen Herzog, director of Main Street Murfreesboro/Rutherford County Inc., a nonprofit dedicated to downtown revitalization “It’s a diverse, multicultural family friendly event. You don’t want to miss this.”
Area high school bands will once again kick off the festival Friday night beginning at 6 p.m. Music resumes at 11 a.m. Saturday, featuring a free children’s area from noon to 6 p.m. and a free jazz clinic led by singer/songwriter Kevin Whalum at 3:30 p.m. at the Center for the Arts downtown.
Saturday afternoon’s musical lineup includes the Murfreesboro Youth Jazz Orchestra, MTSU Jazz Ensemble I and MTSU Faculty Combo. Saturday night’s lineup will feature regional and local talent including the Marcus Finnie Band, Dara Tucker, Joe Davidian and Friends, Joe Johnson, and the 129th Army Jazz Band.
Emceeing the festivities will be Greg Lee Hunt, program director at WMOT-FM 89.5, MTSU’s 100,000-watt public radio station. WMOT staff will be on hand for attendees to take advantage of various giveaways including CD’s, gift certificates, etc.
For more information and the complete lineup, visit www.mainstreetjazzfest.net.
— Jimmy Hart (email@example.com)