July 3, 2014
35th annual JazzFest held at U.S. Bank plaza
By Jaychelle Willis
The crowd gathered on East 14th Street between Euclid and Prospect avenues to view the parade.
The Mardi Gras-style parade excited the crowd as they snapped pictures and volunteers passed around beads and handkerchiefs as the Parade the Circle tribal puppets swayed to the rhymes of jazz being played.
“We’re excited,” said Cleveland native, Patrice Williams referring to she and her husband, Gary Williams.
“I read they (Cleveland Foundation) were having this event, so we decided to come and enjoy this beautiful summer weather and chill a bit.”
The Williams’ were among hundreds of people who came to view the 35th annual Tri-C JazzFest at the U.S. Bank Plaza. Sponsored by the Cleveland Foundation, Clevelanders were able to enjoy two jam-packed days of the best local musicians that Greater Cleveland has to offer.
Along with the performances, individuals were able to catch a bite to eat from neighborhood food trucks such as Fired Up Taco Shop and B & M.
The JazzFest was founded in 1980 by Dr. Trom Horning and Reginald Buckner. Its mission has always been to foster the history and nature the future of Jazz, provide educational opportunities for students of all ages and in all walks of life and bring world-class Jazz to Cleveland, according to the Cuyahoga Community College JazzFest website.
The Cleveland Foundation Days at Tri-C JazzFest concerts were some of the many performances that were held over the weekend.
As part of the JazzFest’s three-day extravaganza that began Thursday, June 26, individuals were able to see 11 of the best jazz artists perform at Playhouse Square.
These ticketed events included Sean Jones, Eliane Elias, Ernie Krivda and Terri Lyne Carrington.
As part of the Cleveland Foundation’s 100-year anniversary, the community was given a free concert from Gregory Porter — a 2014 Grammy award winner for his album Liquid Spirit. The 1,000 seat tickets sold-out within 24-hours of the announcement.
Included in the Foundation’s gift to the community, the concerts on the U.S. Bank Plaza were the June centennial gift to the public.
Established in January of 1914, the Cleveland Foundation is the world’s first community foundation and continues to be one of the largest today, with assets of $1.86 billion and 2012 grants of $91 million.
In celebration of its century milestone, the Foundation created a year-long series of monthly “Cleveland Foundation Days” as centennial gifts to the community.
Beginning in January, the foundation kicked off the first “gift” to the public with its Cleveland Foundation Day on the RTA, which allowed people to ride the RTA for free.
Other gifts to the community included the February centennial gift, Cleveland Foundation Weekend on NorthCoastHarbor which included free admission to the Great Lakes Science Center and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame & Museum.
Cleveland Foundation Day at the Cleveland International Film Festival in March drew the biggest Monday audience in the festival’s history.
Perhaps the most rewarding gift to the public came in April with its Cleveland Foundation Day at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, which broke records with its 35,700 visitors.
May’s Cleveland Foundation Day on Wade Oval gave free admission to the Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland Botanical Garden, The Cleveland Museum of Natural History and the Western Reserve Historical Society.
The celebration continued in June with Downtown Festivals.
Having been to every event thus far, Cleveland resident Brandon Jackson said the JazzFest gift has been the best.
“This is defintely the best one I have been to so far,” Jackson said. “I get to enjoy this weather, sit back, drink and enjoy these musicians.”
For the first time in the JazzFest’s history, the festival was held during the summer.
Previously held in the spring as a 10-day event in April — now in June — the sun glared into people’s eyes as they sat and watched the performances.
Bringing the island feel of Jamaica to the streets of downtown Cleveland Friday afternoon, local high school reggae band Backstage Politics lit up the stage as the crowd cheered them on.
Backstage Politics were the winners of the 18th annual Tri-C High School Rock Off in 2014.
Lead singer Liz Bullock roared the crowd with her punk rock attitude as dreaded bassist Chandler Bogomolny gave us a Bob Marley feel rap on a couple of their tracks.
Politics were just what the festival needed to get the audience to unwind.
As the night began to wind down and the alcoholic beverages line started to get longer, the sets began to become more adult friendly.
Voted Cleveland’s best blues guitarist in Scene Magazine, Alan Greene Blues Band blazed the set with lead vocalist Tom Odegard and Alan Greene busting it out on the guitar.
The Blues Band has been together for more than three decades and has created hits like “Badge” and “Trash Can Blues.”
For more information on the complete list of performers who performed, visit www.tri-c.jazzfest.com.