By Randal C. Hill, Lifestyles After 50 Music Writer
CLEARWATER — Thumping hot beats and too-cool grooves. A backdrop
of sparkling waters and jawdropping sunsets. An assortment of tasty treats and potent potables. Baby boomer faves like Kenny Loggins, Michael McDonald and the Temptations.
Of course we’re talking about (well, raving about) the 38th annual Clearwater Jazz Holiday, slated for Oct. 19–22 at Clearwater’s Coachman Park. Start making plans now to attend what is tagged by many past attendees as simply the best four-day music gathering in the country.
Steve Weinberger, Clearwater Jazz Holiday Foundation CEO, says each day has its own special composition.
“Thursdays and Saturdays are known for their classic appeal and throwback vibes,” he said. “Friday is heavy on vintage, retro and swing revival themes. Sunday’s niche is Americana and bluesy folk-rock.”
Soul, swing, and hot jazz
The legendary Temptations and The Four Tops bring vintage Motown to the Thursday night stage.
Friday, swing revivalists Big Bad Voodoo Daddy and Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox ooze crossover appeal by lending modern vibrations to yesteryear’s classic genres.
And, “New Orleans-based legend Jon Cleary is another great addition to the (Friday) lineup this year,” Weinberger said. “We love the music and feel of New Orleans; that sound has always been a big part of the Jazz Holiday experience.”
The festival’s biggest names Kenny Loggins (Footloose, Danger Zone) and Michael McDonald (What a Fool Believes, Minute by Minute) perform Saturday night, followed by the traditional fireworks show.
Also on Saturday, keyboardist,
composer and Grammy winner Jason
Miles brings an all-star cast to
the stage including Jeff Coffin and
Carter Beauford (of Dave Matthews
Band), Philip Dizack, Shaun Martin,
Mino Cinelu, Gerald Veasley and Karen Briggs.
Sunday’s Americana theme features the Grammynominated/folk-rocking/crowd-loving Avette Brothers.
“They bring such a sincere authenticity and unique energy that make all their shows anywhere so very special,” Weinberger said.
The jazz fest sprang from humble beginnings when it started back in 1980 on the back of a flatbed truck. For the first three decades it was a purist-centered
jazz festival with such headliners as Woody Herman, Dizzy Gillespie, and Manhattan Transfer.
Over the years both the festival’s reputation and the attendance count have grown beyond all expectations and, with it, the scope of the music offered.
Since the mid-2000s, it has become a musical mashup of jazz, swing, blues, folk, soul, funk, Zydeco and old and new rock and pop. Rosters have included such diverse names as Buckwheat Zydeco, Bonnie Raitt, Chicago, Gladys Knight, Sheryl Crow, Kool and the Gang, and Earth, Wind and Fire.
What’s allowed? What’s not?
Lawn chairs, blankets, sunglasses and sunscreen may be brought in from outside. No outside coolers, food or drinks, though, as a wide variety of food and
drink options will be available.
Restrictions include no pets (except for service animals), no glass containers, no canopies or umbrellas, no audio or video recording devices, no weapons, no
fireworks, no laser pointers.
Buy them early. Everything costs more the day of the fun. General admission/lawn seating tickets are $16 per day if purchased in advance. Kids 12 and under are free when accompanied by a paid adult.
Four-day and weekend discount packages can also be had.
Budget-busting holders of a $170 VIP Experience ticket will be seated within the first eight rows before the stage. The outlay also buys access to the secured
VIP Hospitality Area with its abundancy of free food and up to three glasses of beer or wine. The ultimate crowded concert perk, though, just may be access
to (are you ready for this?) the “executive restroom trailer.”
And for you party animals, there are plenty of latenight get-togethers so be sure to check them out. Tickets for after-parties are purchased separately.
Acts are subject to cancellation so please visit clearwaterjazz.com to purchase tickets and for complete schedules and information.