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The 2017 Blues & Jazz Festival is expanding to include another full day of performances, an interactive mural exhibit, and a double-feature film screening. Traditionally, the Festival begins on Saturday afternoon and wraps up Sunday evening, however, this year’s event will kick-off on Friday afternoon, August 4th.

Please support the Erie Art Museum by donating to the Festival.

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Friday from 3 – 8 pm and Saturday 11 am to 2 pm:

Art Acts: Performances and interactive workshops with artists, performers, musicians and puppeteers from the Cleveland Museum of Art’s Department of Community Arts. Giant puppets, stilt walkers line dancing, and spin the wheel for Surprise No Prize. Food Truck Friday: local food trucks line Lake Erie Arboretum at Frontier (LEAF) Elm Allée on Sixth Street (Friday only).

Friday from 3 – 8 pm/Saturday starting at 11 am/ Sunday at noon:

Northwestern Pennsylvania Artists Association exhibition opens at LEAF Education Center building. Paint a Mural with artist Mark Weber. Explore music-making at the Erie Philharmonic Jazz Instruments Petting Zoo. Help LEAF prune the living Willow Art installation. Erie County Library system will be on hand with local music project and kids STEAM activities. Poetry workshop with Erie County Poet Laureate Marisa Moks-Unger, hula hoop workshop with Jen Dennehy, and many more family-friendly interactive workshops.

Friday at Sunset:

Special double-feature version of LEAF’s Movies in the Arboretum.

Saturday:

2 pm: Eric Brewer & Friends, guitar blues leavened with funk and jazz
4 pm: Rodger Montgomery Blues Band, straight ahead blues from veteran bluesman*
6 pm: Eddie Turner and Trouble, blend of voodoo blues, R&B and African rhythms
8 pm: Mokoomba, high energy Afro-Pop from Zimbabwe

Sunday:

Noon: Stephen Trohoske’s Art Groupies, contemporary jazz that bops and swings
2 pm: The Breeze Band with Youthful Talents, outstanding young Erie musicians featured with Breeze Band’s mix of classic R&B, soul, and blues
4 pm: Mary Alice Brown Quartet, vocal and keyboard by Erie’s Queen of Jazz*
6 pm: Russell Malone Quartet, swinging jazz guitar with elements of blues, gospel and R&B
8 pm: Trio 3 – jazz giants Oliver Lake, Reggie Workman, and Andrew Cyrille

* Featured artist at the first Erie Art Museum Blues & Jazz Festival 25 years ago.

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Want to VOLUNTEER at the Festival?
Sign up now!
Volunteers assist with all aspects of the Festival, from selling merchandise to backstage production. To volunteer, call the Erie Art Museum, ph 814.459.5477 and ask for Kirk Oglevee. You can also volunteer for the Production Crew that helps out the day before the Festival on August 4, or the Green Corps. that helps out the day after the Festival on August 7. Email Kirk, to get involved!


The Festival has its roots in the Museum’s Contemporary Music Series, which was a decade old when Jim Spiegel, a longtime Museum supporter with a love of jazz, pitched the idea to Erie Art Museum Director John Vanco and then helped organize it. Museum concerts are intimate experiences—hosting audiences of thousands is very different; but Jim helped us take the chance. We chose Frontier Park, which is a beautiful setting and an ideal space to maintain the quality of the sound.

The mission of the Erie Art Museum is to present art in all its forms, and the Festival reflects that. Booking the Festival lineup is not unlike choosing the menu for an eight-course meal, or curating an art exhibition; selections must stand on their own as well as work with the other choices. Jazz and blues have been lifelong preoccupation of Director John Vanco. “I listen to music all the time—my library shelves groan with the weight of over 20,000 records. It’s crucial to present authentic music—I favor artists who have a personal style, compose their own music, and are engaged in the tradition. An artist’s fame is not important to me; I will always choose quality over celebrity.”

We are passionate about our Blues & Jazz Festival because the art—in this case the music—is completely accessible to the community. It is wonderful to witness people of all stripes, from all walks of life, enjoying great music together. We’re honored that some families choose to host their annual reunions and picnics right at the Festival, and we love seeing kids dancing in front of the stage, and watching those kids grow up. Seeing the park packed shoulder-to-shoulder all the way to 8th Street? That couldn’t be more gratifying.

As John Vanco reflects, “My philosophy has always been to focus on the music. It’s great art. And that’s what we’re about at the Erie Art Museum. Presenting quality art. Thank you for making that happen.”

Please support the Erie Art Museum Blues & Jazz Festival, now in its 25th year! We want to continue to offer this program for free for the Erie community.


To sign up for email updates on everything Festival please click here and select “concerts”


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