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SPRINGFIELD — The Springfield Jazz and Roots Festival will this year be staged over two days, August 12 and 13, with a broad mix of music, arts activities, talks on arts, culture, and social justice, local pop-up craft, food and beverages.

The internationally heralded festival is the city’s premier annual event, featuring national stars and local talent playing jazz, blues, funk, Latin, and African music. Admission is free, but donations are appreciated. This year’s full musical line-up can be found at springfieldjazzfest.com.

The festival will also offer a sneak peek (or an unveiling depending on its progress) of the iconic Worthington Street Mural project celebrating Springfield history. The mural is being painstakingly restored by Springfield artist John Simpson who has studied old photographs of the building’s wall in an effort to accurately recreate as much of the original mural as possible.

Musical performances on August 12 feature Shor’ty Billups, a soul and R&B living legend who played with Ruth Brown, Screaming Jay Hawkins, Jackie Wilson, and Wilson Pickett among others. Also performing are valley legends FAT with Peter Newland and their special guest Scott Murawski from Max Creek, Valley blues/rock icon Mitch Chakour (who was Joe Cocker’s music director) and friends, popular Valley blues rockers The Buddy McEarns Band, and soulful blues belter Janet Ryan and her band.

The festivities on August 13 commence at 12:30 at the Springfield Museum with a parade led by the New Orleans celebrated second-line ensemble The New Breed Brass Band starting from the Wood Museum of Springfield History, where attendees will have free access to the ‘Horn Man: The Life and Musical Legacy of Charles Neville’ exhibit. The parade will end at the stage for the kick-off performance. The complete Saturday performer line-up can be seen at springfieldjazzfest.com.

In addition to the musical performances, the multi-faceted festival will feature various arts activities and presentations and workshops. Puerto Rican jazz trombonist William Cepeda will lead a workshop about traditional Afro-Puerto Rican music on August 12 at 5 p.m., at the Hispanic American Library. Cuban jazz vocalist, Dayme Arocena, will lead a workshop about traditional Afro-Cuban music at the festival on August 13. Attendees can also participate in a mural paint party (separate mural project from the one on Friday) and a presentation by Puerto Rican mural artist Betsy Casanas, and conversations connecting arts with food and climate justice.

The annual festival is presented by Blues To Green, a nonprofit, using music and art to center the cultures of the African diaspora within American culture, nurture personal freedom, strengthen multicultural community, and catalyze action for racial and climate justice. Inspired by famed musician Charles Neville and founded by his wife, B2G is led by Black Springfield community leaders. Learn more about Blues to Green and how the festival helps achieve social change at bluestogreen.org.

This festival is made possible by a grant from Springfield’s Neighborhood Economic Recovery and Relief Fund, other grant funders and local business sponsors, and donors.

 

In addition to the musical performances, the multi-faceted festival will feature various arts activities and presentations and workshops. Puerto Rican jazz trombonist William Cepeda will lead a workshop about traditional Afro-Puerto Rican music on August 12 at 5 p.m., at the Hispanic American Library. Cuban jazz vocalist, Dayme Arocena, will lead a workshop about traditional Afro-Cuban music at the festival on August 13. Attendees can also participate in a mural paint party (separate mural project from the one on Friday) and a presentation by Puerto Rican mural artist Betsy Casanas, and conversations connecting arts with food and climate justice.

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