Aug 4, 201408:00 AMFairfield

Not Here But Near: Litchfield Jazz Festival

Aug 4, 2014 - 08:00 AM
Not Here But Near: Litchfield Jazz Festival

Images courtesy of the Litchfield Jazz Festival

Who doesn’t love to kick back and listen to some tunes? The Litchfield Jazz Festival has been bringing great music—and great musicians—to the region for nearly 20 years. From Friday, August 8th through Sunday, August 10th, the Jazz Fest will be giving residents a reason to kick up their heels at the Goshen Fairgrounds.

Now in its 19th season, this year’s lineup includes Cecile McLorin Salvant and Carmen Staaf, jazz legends The Gospel According to Jazz with Kirk Whalum, and debut performances with Litchfield Jazz Orchestra Django Reinhardt Project. The event is usually heralded as the “best three days” of music and art.

You don’t have to be a resident of the Litchfield area to enjoy it. People come from all over and sing the festival’s praises. A few of its past festivalgoers have called the music “top notch” and “stellar” and said “the vibe is fantastic!”

There’s something for everyone over the course of the weekend: children’s workshops and arts and crafts, food vendors, artist talks, after parties. They just can’t stop having fun!

The festival originally had meager beginnings. Founder and Executive Director Vita West Muir hosted 100-seat concerts in her own home in Litchfield for classic guitar. Sensing a shift in interest toward jazz, the festival got its start. From there, it grew to what it is today—a sell-out destination since 1996.

A year later, they started the Jazz Camp. But, it’s not just for kids. Anyone from age 13 to over 50 can participate. It is meant for all those who want to hone their craft or simply learn how to play. About 350 students now spend their overnight camp time at the Canterbury School in nearby New Milford. The draw comes from being able to learn jazz from some of the most internationally renowned musicians. Students can choose from one to four weeks of camp in a non-competitive environment. The camp ends when the festival starts and students are often encouraged to participate in the festival.

Want to get a bird’s eye view of what it takes to pull off a festival like this? Check out last year’s YouTube time-lapse video of the Litchfield Performing Arts team putting up all the tents on the fairgrounds. Or, take a few minutes to peruse the dulcet tones of smooth jazz from the 2013 festival in this Vimeo.

Tickets start at $40 for lawn seats and $79 for the tent. And if you’re hoping to snag a free seat, volunteer! They always need the help.

For more information, visit them online at www.litchfieldjazzfest.com or call 860-361-6285. Check them out on Facebook or Twitter for regular updates.

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