The fourth annual Rubber City Jazz & Blues Festival will take place from August 23 – 25 at locations throughout downtown Akron. The three-day festival has tons of free performances with select ticketed events, including a performance by acclaimed jazz pianist and special guest Robert Glasper.
This year’s them and will be centered around the theme of “The Rhythms of Akron.” “Jazz and blues have played an essential role in creating the spirit, identity and shape of the Akron community,” said Theron Brown, director of the Rubber City Jazz & Blues Festival.
“Individuals who attend will enjoy hearing music from a variety of well-known local and national musicians.” This year’s lineup includes Glasper, Theron Brown, Dan Wilson, Sammy Deleon, Tom Lehman, Helen Welch, Holbrook Riles III, Elijah Gilmore, Evelyn Wright, Jackie Warren, Maria Jacobs, Daniel Spearman, Aidan Plank, Daniel Bruce, Cliff Barnes, Joe Hunter, Curtis Taylor, Lucas Kadish, Bobby Selvaggio, James Johnson II, Jeremey Poparad, Chris Coles, Josh Rzepka, Nathan- Paul Davis, Phil Anderson and others.
The festival’s purpose is to orchestrate work ethic, self-esteem and respect through music performance and education for a vibrant arts community. The festival is an initiative of Open Tone Music, a Boys & Girls Clubs of Northeast Ohio subsidiary that provides free access to world-class performances and music education to students in kindergarten through grade 12.
The festival, sponsored by PEG’s Foundation, the Akron Community Foundation, The University of Akron, and many other amazing donors, has been a great success the past three years. Last year’s festival included 120 artists, 24 local businesses and approximately 2,000 people, and provided the unique opportunity for audience members to discover locally and nationally renowned musicians, including the Theron Brown Trio, Dan Wilson, Jackie Warren, Dave Thomas, Drene Ivy, Joe Hunter, Joe Leaman, The Admirables, Chris Coles, Sam Blakesle, Dave Thompson Trio, Glen Homles Quartet, Bobby Selvaggio, Sammy DeLeon y Su Orquesta, Jen Mauer, Moustache Yourself, Dan Bruce, Red Light Roxy, Sean Jones, James Johnson II, Bluelight, Howard St. Band, Funk Yard, HR3, Ace Boogie and others at popular Akron venues. The 2018 festival also included some wonderful local craft and other various vendors and a parade led by Brown and Cold City Brass.
Whether participating as a venue or through other efforts, many organizations were a part of the festival, including the Akron Art Museum, the City of Akron, the Akron-Summit County Public Library, Steinway & Sons, Compass Christian Church, Summit ArtSpace, JMF Productions, The Impact Group, The Nightlight, High Street Hop House, BLU Jazz+, Urban Eats, Musica, Uncorked Wine Bar, Crave and Chill Artisan Ice Cream.
“We are so thankful for the generous contributions from our sponsors over the years,” said Chris Anderson, Open Tone’s executive director. “Music plays an important role in developing the students’ work ethic, self-esteem and respect. We have seen many students reach their goals as a result of attending the programs. The fundraising efforts of the past festivals have allowed us to engage dozens of students through a partnership with Miller South School, the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Western Reserve, Compass Christian Church and The University of Akron.”
“We have great plans for the next festival,” said Brown. “Next year, in 2020, will be our five year anniversary. We plan to go big then and do something really special. You don’t want to miss what we have planned!”
For more information on the 2019 Rubber City Jazz & Blues Festival, visit http://www.rubbercityjazz.com or Facebook @rubbercityjazz.