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Springfield Jazz and Roots Festival a significant and enduring event for the city

Aug. 6, 2014 |

The city of Springfield is known for many great events such as the pancake breakfast, Stearns Square Concert Series, and the Parade of Big Balloons, but something has been missing the past three years. I believe, as do many area residents, the missing piece was the absence of a jazz event since the end of the previous festival orchestrated by John Osborne. 

Well, the wait is over, thanks to Evan Plotkin, president of NAI Plotkin, and Kristin Neville, executive director of Blues to Green, who have resurrected jazz with the creation of the Springfield Jazz and Roots Festival. It is scheduled for Court Square in downtown Springfield on Aug. 9, from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. The festival is the first project launched by Blues to Green, a new non-profit led by Kristin using music and art to celebrate community and culture, build shared purpose and catalyze social and environmental change. Kristin’s husband is Charles Neville, saxophonist of the Grammy Award-winning Neville Brothers who will perform at the festival with his daughter, Charmaine.

As a homeowner and business owner, both in the city of Springfield, I believe this festival is significant to the continued effort of revitalization. With the recent creation of a Cultural District this festival is just one cog in the wheel of incredible arts, dining, and history we can leverage to showcase the depth of the cultural assets in Springfield. 

The stage for the Springfield Jazz and Roots Festival will be set in Court Square between the historic Old First Church and 31 Elm St., with the Springfield Municipal Group, including the Campanile clock tower and the beautiful City Hall, as the backdrop. The musical guests were strategically chosen to encourage families and folks from all backgrounds to attend. Our talent includes Grammy Award winner and Springfield native Phil Woods, plus Greg Caputo, the Jim Argiro Quintet, Grace Kelly, Chuchito Valdés as well as other popular jazz and roots artists who are all prominent in today’s music scene.

It is important to recognize the generous support of MassMutual Financial Group, MGM, the Springfield Business Improvement District, and many other area businesses who made it possible to have the festival. 

Throughout the day we are collaborating with other community organizations such as the campaign to Restore the Campanile, The Performance Project, and Community Music School. In addition, Mercy Medical Center will be collecting new socks to as a part of the Healthcare for the Homeless program.  You and your families can also enjoy food from many cultures as well. 

This event will send a noteworthy message to the surrounding communities about Springfield, showcasing it as the cultural capital of western Massachusetts. All of the individuals volunteering to make this event happen dream this is just the beginning of many years of great jazz to come. I can’t wait to see you on August 9.
Jill Monson,
CIO – Chief Inspiration Officer, Inspired Marketing

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