PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Berkshires Jazz has announced the lineup and final schedule for the inaugural Berkshire Jazz Showcase, a free festival to be held on the Pittsfield Common on Saturday, Aug. 25, from 1 to 6 p.m.
The jazz extravaganza features five of the most popular regional bands: The Lucky 5 at 1 p.m.; Gruppo Mondo at 2 p.m.; the Benny Kohn Quartet at 3 p.m.; the Jason Ennis Quintet with vocalist Natalia Bernal at 4 p.m.; and Andy Kelly’s Gypsy Jazz Ambassadors at 5 p.m.
The showcase will also include food vendors, as well as a beer and wine garden. Consumables will be available from Assembly Coffee Roasters, Balderdash Cellars, Ernie's Hot Dog Cart, Lucia's Latin Kitchen and Wandering Star Craft Brewery, among others.
The event will be held on the field adjacent to the First Street Common's playground and "splash park". Audiences are advised to bring blankets or chairs. The Pittsfield Farmer’s Market will be in full swing until 1 p.m.
On any particular weekend, and some weekdays, audiences can find dozens of locally-based world-class musicians in restaurants and lounges, but rarely on a main stage. Berkshires Jazz is out to fix that, with the City of Pittsfield’s outdoor stage as the platform.
Despite signature jazz festivals that feature headline talent during the shoulder tourism seasons, there is no main-stage jazz event during the high tourist season, said Edward Bride, founder and president of Berkshires Jazz.
"Compounding that absence is the fact that there has been no event that features the rich variety of local talent who call the Berkshires home. That is, until now. We think that this is the right time to call attention to the area's musical riches," he said. "Visitors and locals alike will be amazed at the talent that calls the Berkshires home."
A nonprofit organization, Berkshires Jazz was formed in 2009 by the committee that had established the Pittsfield CityJazz Festival. Its mission is to preserve Jazz, America’s indigenous art form and nurture its growth by presenting high quality jazz programs, fostering jazz education, and promoting the local jazz scene. In addition to programming the Pittsfield CityJazz Festival in mid-October and the Berkshire Gateway Jazz Weekend in mid-June, the organizations sponsors several single-day events throughout the year, as well as conducting jazz education activities throughout the county. Updates and information can be found online.
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