Archived Story

Weather rains out second night of city Jazz Fest

Published 11:05am Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Blankets, lawn chairs and coolers covered Strand Park Friday as thousands gathered for night one of the 22nd annual Alexander City Jazz Fest.

Jazz Fest Committee Chairman Henry Foy estimated approximately 5,000 attended the show in Strand Park.

“It was a really good show,” Foy said. “We had a very nice crowd. It’s very difficult to guess the number, but it rivaled last year. It may not have been bigger than last year, but by the time we were done, we had a very nice crowd.”

Emcee Wildman Steve got the city’s biggest party

of the year started as he welcomed the crowd and introduced the night’s lineup of The Bibb City Ramblers, Guitar Shorty and Bonerama.

Bluegrass band Bibb City Ramblers kicked off the concert with songs from their new album “Mountain Air” before blues guitarist and vocalist Guitar Shorty took the stage.

Shorty – who has been credited with influencing the legendary musical style of his brother-in-law: the late Jimi Hendrix – took a break from performing his own songs at one point during the show to cover eclectic versions of several well-known classic tunes.

Headliner Bonerama, a New Orleans-based brass funk rock band, hit the stage next. The six-man band includes three trombonists – two of whom are former members of Harry Connick’s band.

Night two of the music festival was held at The Amp on Highway 63. The event was set to include the Jonathan Bloom Band, Nelo and headliner Robert Randolph & The Family Band, but event organizers stopped the show early because of inclement weather on the radar.

Robert Gunn, director of events and social media at Russell Lands, said minutes later it was unfortunate the event had to be canceled, “especially with the lineup we had scheduled.”

“But as a Jazz Fest committee we got together (to look at the situation). It’s about people’s safety – the patrons and the audience, but also those that were going to be performing on the stage and those of us involved with taking down and setting up,” Gunn said. “I really hate it because the lineup was super … but with the weather like this, it really becomes more about safety.”

Foy also emphasized the safety factor in the decision. “Our responsibility is to the people who want to come to that event, and we don’t take their safety lightly,” Foy said.

Foy added he would like to thank everyone who worked together on the event this year, and although the Jazz Committee was disappointed they had to end the second night early, it was for the best.

“I think we are finally getting to the point where we recognize the value of this event as a stepping stone to better things for the community,” he said.

Jessica Hargett contributed to this article.

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