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Al Key/DRC
Tony Petroff of Eagle AVL of Fort Worth sets up the main stage at the northeast end of Quakertown Park on Tuesday in Denton.

Preparations begin for annual Denton Arts & Jazz Festival

There will be music around every corner for every man, woman and child who visits Quakertown Park this weekend for the 24th annual Denton Arts & Jazz Festival.

The free three-day event showcases artists of all ages both local and out of state, bringing them to celebrate art, food and music.

“We’re a family event. We make sure our music and performances are intergenerational,” said Carol Short, director of the Denton Festival Foundation. “Our music and the people that participate in the stages are just as diverse as the festivalgoers who come. We don’t just appeal to one group of people, so the college students have just as much fun as the 50- and 60-year-olds.”

Short is expecting more than 200,000 people to visit the park over the weekend, taking in seven stages of music, food vendors and the popular children’s art tent. She said activities for children will include a tent where they can build things out of wood and a percussion tent that provides hands-on experience with a variety of percussion instruments with help from a jazz performer and the University of North Texas National Education Teachers Association.

The music lineup features some of the best artists from all over the country, representing about 18 states, Short said. She said all the artists were screened and selected by a panel before they were added to the event.

Short said there will be headliners on the Jazz Stage each night. The David Sandborn Trio will take the stage Friday night, the Original Blues Brothers Band will play Saturday and Brave Combo will close out the festival Sunday.

The festival gets the support it does year in and year out mainly because it is a nonprofit organization, Short said. She said people think the city puts the event on, but it does not, the foundation does.

“Of course, we couldn’t do it without the city of Denton because of the parks and we get hotel tax, too,” she said.

“But the main reason we get so much sponsorship and support and grants is because we are free. Everybody’s welcome; it doesn’t matter. We want to make sure everybody has access to not only the music, but the fine arts and all the children’s activities.”

Short said a lot of people who grew up with this event are now bringing their kids to it.

“And that makes it fun,” she said.

What also makes the event possible are the hundreds of volunteers who man the booths during the festival, members of the Top Hands volunteer group. Carrell Ann Simmons, group coordinator, said more people are still needed.

“It’s hard to get 400 people to volunteer to work,” she said.

Simmons noted that those interested in volunteering can visit www.dentonjazzfest.com . Although the forum has a deadline date listed, Simmons said to ignore that because the organization is still taking applications.

“Get signed up and we’ll find you a place to work,” Simmons said.

Perks include two food and drink coupons, reserved parking space, access to the Denton Woman’s Club Building during the weekend to cool off, and a discount on the festival T-shirt, she said.

“It’s a fun thing. People sign up and they come back and want to work another shift. And it makes you feel good that people have that much fun working out there.”

For more information, call Simmons at 940-367-8311.

BJ LEWIS can be reached at 940-566-6875 and via Twitter at @BjlewisDRC.


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