Berkshire County has a long-standing reputation as a hot-bed of jazz talent, going back nearly 75 years to Music Inn, and now being revived throughout the region. Dozens of world-class musicians, many of whom could easily establish careers in jazz havens like New York, Chicago, New Orleans or San Francisco, live here because this is where they want to be. You can find them in clubs and lounges on many weekends, but rarely on a main stage, especially those from the more rural areas.
This is somewhat ironic. The performing arts represent the heart of the Berkshires; the area is swarming with creativity. And yet, despite signature jazz festivals that feature headline talent during the shoulder season (e.g., the Berkshire Gateway Jazz Weekend each June, and Pittsfield CityJAZZ Festival in October), there is no main-stage jazz event during the high tourist season –and none at all that showcases the rich variety of local talent who call the Berkshires home.
That all changes on August 25.
As a county-wide organization whose mission includes promoting the local jazz scene, Berkshires Jazz addresses this longstanding oversight by showcasing a panoply of the highest-quality regional jazz artists in a one-day outdoors festival at the Pittsfield Common. Free to the public, the first annual Berkshire Jazz Showcase (1-6pm, Saturday, Aug. 25) will include 5 bands, food vendors, a beer and wine garden, and the adjacent playground and “splash park”.
Come and enjoy a wide-ranging jazz extravaganza, with:
Andy Kelly Gypsy Jazz
Ben Kohn Trio
Jason Ennis and Friends
And, it’s free!
Watch this space for updates.
Bring blankets or chairs. And, come early, the Pittsfield Farmer’s Market will be in full swing until 1pm.