Jazz festival source of fond memories for its fans
Posted: 06/22/2012 at 1:15 am
By: Zina Kumok
A former trumpet player, Farrand now comes to the jazz festival with his family. “It was just awesome just to be out there,” he said of his experience volunteering at the festival.
For the 25th anniversary, the Elkhart Jazz Festival will have many fans returning to celebrate a quarter century of great music in downtown Elkhart.
Former Elkhart Truth entertainment editor Marcia Fulmer said she remembers the first jazz festival back in 1988. She said the first festival was more intimate and smaller, something that she enjoyed.
“It was very relaxed,” she said.
Since then, the festival has been concentrated, and the concerts will be located within an easy walking distance, something that’s important if temperatures continue to grow. Fulmer said that while other cities try to put on jazz festivals, few can keep it going as long as Elkhart.
“I think it is a big plus for Elkhart that not only did they have it, but the amount of attendees keeps growing every year,” she said.
Cheryl Waldman and her husband have been patrons for most of the time that they’ve been going to the festival. Once locals, they live in Indianapolis but still make it up north for the weekend. For her jazz is an American tradition that is dwindling as her generation gets older.
“I think it needs to be supported so it isn’t lost,” Waldman said.
Retired dance teacher Sally Roth said she has rarely missed a jazz festival, except for a couple of times when she had to take her students to a competition. But otherwise she enjoys coming and following Dave Bennett, one of her favorites.
“There’s nothing quite as American or quite as exciting for me as jazz,” she said.
Harrison Landing co-owner Bill Lavery is a board member for Downtown Elkhart Inc., the organization that puts on the Jazz Festival. He thinks the festival has improved because it tries to respond to what the fans like. For example, when the festival moved to a two-day format in 2010, people complained. The next year, it was back to a three-day festival.
“Over the years the jazz fest has gotten better because I think the organization has listened to what people want,” he said.
This year, Farrand will go with his parents and take his wife and daughter to the festival. While he said he wasn’t sure if his dad had gone to the festival before his time as a Boy Scout, he said they were all going this year.
“It’s fun going by yourself, but it’s even more fun when you can experience with family or friends,” he said. “I think it’s a big group thing everybody should do.”