Springfield Jazz and Blues Festival sets lineup for third year

Grammy winners among those scheduled to perform downtown in August.

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

The dog days of August will give way to cool musical sounds once again in downtown Springfield this summer. The third version of The Springfield Jazz and Blues Festival, presented by the Kiwanis Club, will be Aug. 9-10 at National Road Commons Park and Mother Stewart’s Brewing Company.

The festival will bring in a mix of nationally-known, regional and local artists including Grammy Award-winners, the best vibraphonist in the country, returning favorites, new participants and recognition of one of Springfield’s legendary musicians. Admission will remain free.

Rich Carey, one of the event’s lead organizers, said after two years of introducing and establishing the event, it continues to expand with Todd Stoll, who organizes the talent, keeping the lineup fresh.

“We’re going to have a huge festival. We’ve been fortunate to have two great years, and Todd has taken it up a notch with the acts he’s gotten us,” he said.

The Commons Stage will see talent including Grammy-winning singer Carmen Bradford. She impressed local audiences with her rendition of Ella Fitzgerald hits with the Springfield Symphony Jazz Orchestra (SSJO) in a 2022 show, and she will play with the Bobby Floyd Trio as the first night’s headliner.

The second night will see another huge name in 16-time Grammy nominee and two-time winner Kurt Elling playing with the SSJO. Carey said along with artists like Samara Joy, who performed at the first festival and has become one of the biggest new stars in jazz, the festival continues to attract big names.

“Kurt Elling is a huge catch,” he said. “The superlatives have been awesome. Springfield has found its place on the national jazz and blues map. Samara Joy still talks about us, and we are getting inquiries from musicians throughout the country.”

Another performer who audiences may not know by name contributes to a television classic. Summer Camargo is the trumpet player with the Saturday Night Live band and will perform with her quintet.

As the festival wants to attract a younger audience, the opening act on the Commons Stage on the second day is the Columbus Youth Jazz Orchestra.

“Kiwanis is about serving kids, and we really want to get youth involved and feature high school and college groups in the future,” Carey said. “This festival is about a lot of genres of jazz and blues.”

The festival will honor Springfield’s own Johnny Lytle, who became one of the jazz world’s great vibraphonists of the 20th Century and played with the big names of the era. The festival is working with Lytle’s family to honor the late performer to rename the Commons Stage in his memory.

A musical tribute to Lytle will be led by Warren Wolf and Joshua Strange, who is considered the best vibraphonist in the country, according to Carey.

Blues fans will find Marquise Knox returning for the third time at the Mother Stewart’s stage, teaming with vocalist Nora Jean Wallace from Chicago. One of the rising stars of blues with local roots who will perform is the Joe Waters Trio of Dayton, winners of the 2024 International Blues Challenge in New Orleans.

While the Commons Stage and Mother Stewart’s have been the hubs of the musical activity, this year introduces a new venue into the mix. The State Theater will serve several functions including as cooling center where concertgoers can find relief from the weather, watch the band playing on the Commons Stage on the big screen, grab a drink and be the location for the after-concert late night jams.

The State can also be a relocation site in case of bad weather. Carey said the first year saw two acts lost when showers swept through, and this will alleviate that potential problem.

Attendees can expect the return of the LED screen at the Commons Stage that was a big boost in 2024 along with a selection of local food trucks. Other amenities are also being considered.

Carey said the festival is seeking volunteers and is grateful for them and the many sponsors who have stepped up. The festival has also established itself as a tradition the second weekend in August going forward.

“We’ve hit a right chord with the people of Springfield,” he said.

For more information on the festival, go to www.springfieldjazzbluesfest.com/.

Friday, Aug. 9 Schedule

Commons Stage

4:30 p.m. The Champion City Band

6 p.m. George Delancey Sextet

7:30 p.m. Summer Camargo Quintet

9 p.m. Carmen Bradford with the Bobby Floyd Trio

Mother Stewart’s Stage

5 p.m. Mother’s Jazz Collective

6:30 p.m. Joe Waters Trio

8 p.m. Finnigan Denson Incident

9:30 p.m. Marquise Knox with Nora Jean Wallace

Saturday, Aug. 10 Schedule

Commons Stage

2:30 p.m. Columbus Youth Jazz Orchestra

4 p.m. Keigo Hirakawa Quartet

5:30 p.m. Tribute to Johnny Lytle with Warren Wolf and Joshua Strange

7 p.m. Wow (the Three Tenors) with B3

8:30 p.m. Kurt Elling with the Springfield Symphony Jazz Orchestra

Mother Stewart’s Stage

3 p.m. Bob Niederriter Trio

4:30 p.m. New Basics Brass Band

6 p.m. Lee Swisher Groove Elation

7:30 p.m. Urban Jazz Coalition

9 p.m. The Nasty Nati Brass Band

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