ELKHART — The stages are set up, and the instruments are tuned — it’s time for the 26th annual Elkhart Jazz Festival.
The city’s largest music festival opens Friday, June 21, with an artist lineup that includes long-time festival favorites, up-and-coming jazz musicians and world-class headliners John Pizzarelli and Wynton Marsalis with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra.
While a handful of performances will start up early Friday afternoon, the tempo will begin to pick up at 5 p.m. when the jazz festival hosts its first Mardi Gras parade. The procession is expected to include more than 300 performers dancing their way from the Knights of Columbus hall on Lexington Avenue to the public stage at Civic Plaza on Main Street where Elkhart’s mayor will welcome festivalgoers to the weekend event. The festival will continue through Sunday, June 23.
The parade is one of a few new features at the festival this year. Organizers have also introduced an interactive smartphone app that allows users to create personal concert schedules, share photos and learn more about the artist lineup.
Headliner John Pizzarelli will take the stage at 8 p.m. Friday, June 21, at the Lerner Theatre for a special performance. He will have two shorter sets Saturday, June 22, one at 2 p.m. in the theater’s Crystal Ballroom and another at 9:30 p.m. at the Knights of Columbus hall. Wynton Marsalis will make his only appearance at the festival with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra at 8 p.m. Saturday, June 22, at the Lerner.
Three long-time contributors to the jazz festival will receive lifetime achievement awards at 2 p.m. Saturday, June 21, at Civic Plaza. This year’s honorees include festival volunteer Paul Thomas, musician Terry Myers and business owner Rocky Giglio.
For a full Elkhart Jazz Festival schedule and the latest news, check elkharttruth.com. Get more live updates from The Elkhart Truth on Facebook, Twitter (@ElkhartTruth) and Instagram (@ElkhartTruth). Updates will include the hashtag #ElkJazz.