Eureka perfect haven for jazz fest
LARA JO HIGHTOWER
The 32nd year of the Eureka Springs Jazz Festival will kick off tonight and run through Sunday. The event was designed to shine a light on both national and local jazz musicians as well as the town of Eureka Springs itself, says H.A. “Andy” Green, Eureka Springs City Advertising and Promotions Committee event coordinator.
“It is a unique place — there’s no place on the planet like it,” says Green of Eureka Springs. “It’s a great place to come and get away from the normal day-to-day and enjoy a nice drink and an event or entertainment. We know there’s still a demand for that. We see hundreds of thousands of visitors from the United States and around the world every year.”
The town is a perfect environment to feature some of the finest jazz musicians in the country, says Green.
“There are some lovely rooms and nice places to do music here, including the auditorium and Upstairs at the Grotto — which has a cabaret-like environment — the Ballroom at the Basin Park Hotel, the Crescent, the band shell and some of our nightclubs. All of those venues are great places to come and see music, and, of course, you can walk to almost all of them.”
Green has been in the entertainment and music business for more than 50 years. He is a musician himself and sits on the board of the Northwest Arkansas Jazz Society. Jazz, he says, is a music genre worth promoting and celebrating.
“Many of us have grown up appreciating the great American art form of jazz, truly a wonderful genre that is almost impossible to define. I know that jazz is a genre of music that has a lot of supporters and listeners in Northwest Arkansas, [but] I think it’s underexposed here.”
The festival will kick off on tonight at 7 p.m. with a roaring 1920s lawn party at the Crescent Hotel, featuring live music from the Crescent City Combo.
“If the locals dress up, it will be a sight to behold,” says Green. “And they almost never pass up an opportunity to dress up in a costume.”
The lineup for Friday (3 p.m. until 8 p.m.) and Saturday (2 p.m. until 7 p.m.) at the Basin Spring Park will be free to listeners. Green says the accessibility of a free performance was important to festival planners.
“We wanted to make sure that some of the presentations were available to anyone, whether you had a big budget or a small one. We’re trying to be sensitive to the fact that people have to come here from somewhere and that costs money — so we’re presenting some music in a manner that allows for enjoyment by any budget.”
Eureka Springs Jazz Festival
Today — Jazz Lawn Party at the Crescent Hotel, 7-10 p.m.
Friday — Free music in Basin Spring Park to include Block Street Hot Club, Fourscore and Charged Particles featuring Paul McCandless, 3-8 p.m.
Saturday — Free music in Basin Spring Park to include Richard Bruton Quartet, Block Street Hot Club, and Charged Particles featuring Paul McCandless, 2-7 p.m.; Veronica Swift, Upstairs at the Grotto, 8:30 p.m.
Sunday — Jazz Brunch at The Crystal Dining Room in the Crescent Hotel, 10 a.m.-1 p.m.
INFO — jazzeureka.org