Friday, May 29, 2009

Sacramento Jazz Festival Expedition

For the last 36 years, Sacramento, California, has been the host city for an event that was originally called The Sacramento Jazz Jubilee. As the years clicked by, the event grew in scope and complexity, such that the festival organizers felt that the name should be changed to the Sacramento Jazzfest to reflect the new generation of participants and spectators. The weather for this year's festival could have been "custom-made" for a fun time in the outdoors, as the temperature and clear blue skies were picture-perfect over the Memorial Day Holiday. Jazzfest kicked off with a parade down the main street of "Old Sacramento", with various groups marching, playing music, or riding in vintage automobiles, displaying signs of the special "dignitaries" they carried.
There were venues of music performances throughout the Old Town and Downtown areas of Sacramento. Shuttle buses were available to transport attendees to events that were too far to walk between. Likewise, shuttle buses stopped at participating hotels to pick up folks who came to the city from out of town for the festival. There were so many performances to choose from that it was impossible to catch them all. In fact, the official program for Jazzfest listed twelve different varieties of music: Big Bands, Blues, Gospel, Gypsy Jazz, Novelty, Latin Jazz, Mainstream, Pop Cover, Swing, Trad, Western Swing, and Zydeco. The program described these as a "musical buffet' at which you can sample a little of this and a little of that, until your plate runneth over. Some of the events required a ticket purchase (which could be done individually or a four-day, all-event ticket) However, if you are on a budget, there are enough performances held in public spaces that don't require a ticket, that you can have a full day without spending a penny. (This is highly unlikely, however, when you smell the fresh-popped kettle corn being sold by street vendors!)
As might be expected, the crowds of people called for an increased police presence in the area,, but the three policemen pictured on bicycle patrol above, indicated there had not been any significant problems to deal with, in terms of rowdy, inappropriate behavior. Maybe that is because the Keystone Cops (Top Photo) had issued warnings in the opening parade that anyone not having a good time would be severely reprimanded.
Since Old Town Sacramento is situated on the Sacramento River, the Delta King Riverboat, which is permanently moored there, was the location I found most enjoyable to listen to music, and "people watch". The cool "delta breezes" coming off the river kept audience members comfortable as the performers belted out their rhythms along the water. There are hundreds of music festivals held throughout the U.S. each year, but it would be hard to top the Sacramento Jazzfest. Isaiah 23: 16b says " the harp well, sing many a song so that you will be remembered." I will for sure remember the songs of Sacramento, and I would definitely recommend putting this on your list of "future expeditions" if you have not yet done so! Miles of smiles! TriciaPosted by Picasa