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Montclair Jazz Festival Draws Over 17,000, Breaking Attendance Record

originally published: 09/14/2023

Montclair Jazz Festival Draws Over 17,000, Breaking Attendance Record

Photo credits: top and bottom left: Richard Conde; bottom right: Alan Nahigan

(MONTCLAIR, NJ) -- On Saturday, September 9, the Montclair Jazz Festival launched its much-anticipated Downtown Jamboree, an all-day multi-stage festival. The festival set a new attendance record, drawing an impressive 17,000 music fans to downtown Montclair, New Jersey. Unexpected severe weather forced a three-hour mid-afternoon delay due to lightning and heavy rain. Still, despite this setback, the 14th annual Montclair Jazz Festival roared back to life in the evening with host Alonzo Bodden from Last Comic Standing helping to keep the mood light. Attendees were treated to three more hours of sensational jazz performances from artists like Antibalas, Michael Mwenso and the Shakes, Regina Carter, Christian McBride and the New Jawn, and Melanie Charles.

"This year's festival is certainly one for the books, but it is not our first time working with Mother Nature,” said Melissa Walker, founder & president of Jazz House. “Jazz is all about improvisation, so we organically have much experience making things happen when new elements are introduced. That muscle was certainly on full display, and in the end, the literal staying power of our fans, coupled with the incredible musicians, ensured an electrifying Downtown Jamboree. That's the resiliency of true community building, which is what JAZZ HOUSE KiDS is all about."

Montclair Jazz Festival is the most popular jazz festival in the greater NYC area that’s free to the public and one of the largest jazz festivals in the country. Music directed and curated by 8-time GRAMMY Award-winning bassist Christian McBride, the festival is presented by BDP Holdings, LLC, and produced by the renowned Jazz House Kids. It is now in its 21st year in partnership with Essex County and Montclair Township. The flagship Downtown Jamboree hosted fans along an all-pedestrian Bloomfield Avenue, which boosted close to 200 vendors presented by Rao's Homemade, a Family Jazz Discovery Zone presented by Amazon, an All-Star Alumni Stage presented by Jazz Cruises and a new Community Stage on a nearly half-mile long stretch from Fullerton Avenue to Lackawanna Plaza, to celebrate the vibrant and diverse town of Montclair with a jam-packed, exciting day of free, live music.

Born 20 years ago with its first jazz workshop in Newark Schools for students and their families on behalf of WBGO, Jazz House Kids transforms lives using the power and legacy of jazz through world-class education and performances that create avenues of access, learning, career development and community building. The organization and students have received more than 135 awards and honors for excellence in jazz and jazz education. Jazz House students are among the most sought-after in the nation, with 100% attending college and receiving significant merit scholarships.  Every day of the week through a series of in-school and out-of-school programs in four counties in New Jersey and out-of-school programs in Montclair and New York City, the Jazz House helps young people gain an artistic edge, fostering community leaders and global citizens who help us build thriving communities. The Jazz House produces 150+ free public concerts per year to audiences close to 150,000, including the organization’s far-reaching cultural signature program, the award-winning Montclair Jazz Festival, the largest free jazz festival in the NYC area, attracting 25,000+ attendees to downtown Montclair each year.



 
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