Plans set for second annual Piedmont Jazz Festival

Spring is here and plans are set for the second annual Piedmont Jazz Festival.Richard Williams, of the festival stirring committee, opened a press conference March 20 at the Embassy Suites to announce the continuation of the festival as “a dynamic event, still building on a dream.””We identified something last year that that brought us (the Piedmont) closer, and rather than put it on a shelf, we rolled up our sleeves and went to work,” said Williams.The festival will be May 1 through May 5 and will highlight more local and regional artists as opposed to the previous year. It will also feature more educational activities and collaborations with local restaurants, museums and organizations.Festival coordinator Ryan Maltese says although the planners faced challenges they have tremendous support throughout the Triad.”Coming off of last year’s festival, the one thing that resonated loud and clear was that there was plenty of local talent right here in the Piedmont Triad that should carry a more significant part of the festival,” said Maltese. “That is something we somehow failed to capitalize on in our inaugural event.”Winston-Salem Alderman Fred Terry, High Point mayor Arnold Koonce and Greensboro Mayor Pro Tem Yvonne Johnson were also in attendance.Terry believes the festival will have a great impact the economic balance of the Piedmont.”The festival is important to the economic base of the Triad. People spend money for entertainment and it’s time to take advantage of that,” said Terry.Koonce is in support of the festival and also the recognition that High Point will receive for its involvement.”This is an opportunity (for High Point) to do other things besides market and promote furniture. It is a step forward in promoting cultural events for the Triad,” said Koone.For Johnson the festival is an outlet for everyone to enjoy this cultural experience together.”The Piedmont Jazz Festival is the opportunity for all to be free and enjoy the legacy together,” said Johnson.There will be performances by local high school bands, college jazz bands and also jazz workshops with performers and music educators at area colleges and high schools, all free and open to the public.Other events include Poetic License, a poetic slam event that will feature performers from HBO’s Def Poets at the Greene Street Bar in Greensboro, a day-long music extravaganza at Oak Hollow Overlook Park in High Point and an International Music Explosion in Winston-Salem, among many other events.Local artists who will perform include those of Sankofa, Carl Grubbs, Martha and the Moodswingers and Cle Thompson.The Piedmont Jazz Festival is a collaborative effort by art councils, convention and visitors bureaus and various civic organizations in Greensboro, High Point and Winston-Salem.

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