LH JAMS Festival expands in second year
LOCK HAVEN — “Get ready to jam because the second annual LH JAMS Festival has been expanded to be bigger and better,” said Steve Getz, festival director.
The second Lock Haven Jazz and Art on Main Street Festival is scheduled for Friday and Saturday, Aug. 18 and 19.
All phases of the festival are growing, Getz said. “An additional stage, more performances — it’s fantastic,” he said.
“We’re adding more of the good stuff,” said Carol Ann Simon Cillo, president of the Clinton County Arts Council which sponsors the festival. “It will be a super day of music from early in the morning until late at night… and most of it is free.”
The 2017 festival starts with a free jazz workshop Friday, Aug. 18 at Lock Haven University and open to the public. This year’s workshop has expanded and offers four instructors.
That evening, the “Art and All that Jazz” reception will have more of a concert format this year. Three mini-concerts will take place during the three-hour event.
“We encourage the community to attend the reception since this is the only fundraiser, and helps to guarantee future festivals,” Getz said.
The reception includes something else new this year — a contest for anyone who wishes to dress in Jazz Era attire. It is not necessary for attendance, but special prizes for the top male and female ensembles will be awarded.
On Saturday, Aug. 19, the Main Street segment of the festival opens at 10 a.m. and runs until 6 p.m., three hours longer than in 2016. It includes fine arts and crafts vendors (more than last year), artists painting outdoors (en plein air), and musical performances starting at noon.
Seven separate live-music events will take place on the downtown Main Street block from Grove to Jay streets. This year performances will be on two different stages. The Elks club’s front patio will again be used and will be the main stage, and the new “Stage 2” will be set up in the middle of the street, near The Texas Restaurant. Music starts at the Elks at noon, then alternates with acts on Stage 2. By alternating stages, bands will have more time to set up and remove their equipment while the audience enjoys more music with less wait time between acts. The Main Street music goes until 6 p.m.
“The first act — The Marko Marcinko Quartet and Nate Birkey — is going to be great, and the music will just go from there,” Getz said.
An interactive drum circle will be offered at 2:30 p.m.
After 6 p.m., the festival then moves to the Corman Amphitheatre for the city’s free Billy Price concert on the floating stage from 6:30 to 9 p.m.
“We collaborated with the City of Lock Haven Summer Concert Series to bring Billy back to Lock Haven,” Getz said. “I couldn’t be more pleased with the cooperation with the city to make this happen and include this well-known blues artist during the LH JAMS Festival.”
The city also has granted free street parking all day Saturday.
The evening-venue jazz concerts were a major part of the festival last year, encouraging visitors to float from place to place and enjoy a wide variety of music in intimate settings. This year the evening venues have expanded to five: Stella A’s, The Saloon, Broken Axe Brew House, Avenue 209 Coffeehouse, and a new one this year — Odd Fellas Burger.
“We purposely selected a variety of venues to give visitors their choice of atmosphere, from fine dining to a coffee house atmosphere,” Getz said.
“To me, one of the most important parts of the festival is creating a platform that offers not only art enrichment to the community but also an economic stimulus to area businesses,” he said. “Our plan is to continue to grow the festival each year, and hopefully in the near future, it will be one of the most important art and music festivals in the state.”
Eddie Severn is the festival’s artistic director.
He is excited about the schedule this year, which features new artists as well as festival veterans from last year. He is particularly excited that saxophonist Larry McKenna will not only perform, but also serve as an instructor for the free jazz workshop, and that vocalist Nate Birkey will open the Saturday afternoon festival concerts with The Marko Marcinko Quartet.
Birkey, based in New York City, has built a solid reputation for creating a modernizing “mainstream” musical voice, steeped in subtle swing and expressive lyricism which has earned him comparisons to Miles Davis and Chet Baker.
McKenna is established in both classical and jazz saxophone performance on a global scale, and has played alongside iconic performers including Woody Herman, Tony Bennett, Rosemary Clooney, and Frank Sinatra.
Artists are already being lined up for the 2018 festival, Severn said.
Cillo said, “People are excited. They liked what happened last year and they are bringing their family members from other states to this year’s festival.”
The schedule follows.
r Free jazz workshop — 10 a.m.-4 p.m., LHU, featuring instructors Larry Marshall for drums, Larry McKenna for saxophone, Steve Meashey for bass, and Steve Rudolph for piano.
“Those four people are over-the-top amazing,” Getz said.
The students will perform the following day with the four faculty members on Stage 2, from 1 to 1:30 p.m.
The workshop is open to the public, but preregistration is required. To apply or get more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The workshop is sponsored by Thomas “Doc” Sweitzer.
r “Art and All That Jazz” reception — 6:30-9:30 p.m., Durrwachter Alumni Conference Center at LHU, with live jazz performances, fine food, cash bar.
Dress in your favorite Jazz Era attire (fun but not necessary for attendance). Prizes for the top male and female ensembles will be awarded.
Musical performances during the evening reception will include the soothing sounds of Connor Rohrer and Gabriel Severn; the classic vocals and instrumental styling of Nancy and Spencer Reed; and the incomparable jazz pianist Steve Rudolph with Philadelphia jazzman Larry McKenna on saxophone.
Those planning to attend the reception must obtain an LH JAMS Passport, by visiting www.lhjams.org or emailing Clinton County Arts Council at email@example.com.
Saturday, Aug. 19 is packed with 10 hours of free music.
Art and fine craft vendors will offer their wares, and artists will set up their easels along Main Street and create artworks while everyone enjoys the music. The artists are Karl Leitzel, Susan Nicholas Gephart, and Sean Bodley.
r 10 a.m. — Vendors open.
r Noon-1 p.m. — Marko Marcinko Quartet featuring vocalist Nate Birkey on the Elks Main Stage.
r 1-1:30 p.m. — The Student Jazz Workshop Band playing standard jazz favorites on Stage 2.
r 1:30-2:30 p.m. — Teen Town with Tommy Hamilton on saxophone, on the Elks stage.
r 2:30-3 p.m. — Steve Mitchell’s “Circle of Drums,” a drum circle with some audience participation, on Stage 2.
r 3-4 p.m. — Nancy and Spencer Reed on the Elks stage.
r 4-4:30 p.m. — The Last Resort, a local Dixieland band, on Stage 2.
r 4:30-5:30 p.m. — Zeropoint Big Band with Larry McKenna on the Elks stage.
r 5:30-6 p.m. — The Last Resort on Stage 2.
r 6:30-9 p.m. — The Billy Price Band on the floating stage at Corman Amphitheater.
The evening performances in downtown venus will take place from 7:30 to 10 p.m. The schedule is:
r Stella A’s — Steve Rudolph Trio with Larry McKenna.
r The Saloon — The Rick Hirsch 3.
r Avenue 209 Coffeehouse — The Eddie Severn Trio.
r Broken Axe Brew House — Dave Jumper and Friends.
r Odd Fellas Burger — Grahm Dion and the Susquehanna River Band featuring drummer Rich Cummings.
The 2017 LH JAMS Festival sponsors are: The Express community newspaper, the Clinton County Arts Council, the Clinton County Community Foundation, Clinton County Visitors Bureau, the Pennsylvania Council of the Arts, Lock Haven University, Lock Haven Hospital, Avery Dennison, Woodlands Bank, M&R Contracting, Jim and Carol Hanna, WSQV, Elks Lodge 182, Downtown Lock Haven Inc., Thomas “Doc” Sweitzer, Fraternal Order of Eagles, Clinton County government, the City of Lock Haven, The Record Online, PA Wilds, Fairfield Inn, and Best Western.