Festival offers something for all

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Fans of the Denton Arts & Jazz Festival know that the annual three-day event, which begins Friday, is as unique as the city that hosts it.

Since its inception, the festival has continued to grow — expanding in every area, from the variety of attractions offered to the number of people who attend — reflecting the growth and vitality that Denton has enjoyed during the same time frame.

This year’s festival, the 24th annual, will feature tunes for every taste and age and showcase a wide range of artists from near and far, paying tribute to Denton residents’ love of good music and discriminating eye for creativity.

More than 200,000 people are expected to attend the festival during its three-day run at Quakertown Park, and the audiences will be as diverse — in age and interests — as the people who call Denton home.

“We’re a family event,” said Carol Short, director of the Denton Festival Foundation. “We make sure our music and performances are intergenerational. 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.”

Yet, in spite of its stature as a premiere North Texas event, the quality of its music and art and its popularity with all ages, the Denton Arts & Jazz Festival is free — visitors pay no admission fee to be a part of this annual celebration of art, food and music.

The free admission is a tribute to the efforts of a lot of people who work hard securing donations and helping make the festival a success year in and year out.

The Denton Festival Foundation produces the festival with the support of such sponsors as the city of Denton, the Dallas/Fort Worth American Federation of Musicians Local 72-147 and many corporate and individual sponsors, officials said.

There is also a team of volunteers — the Top Hands — who play key roles, such as manning booths during the festival.

Carrell Ann Simmons, group coordinator, said more people are still needed and that those interested in volunteering can visit www.dentonjazzfest.com. Although the form has a deadline date listed, Simmons told us the organization is still taking applications. For more information, call Simmons at 940-367-8311.

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

Perks include two food and drink coupons, a 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,” she said. “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.”

Serving as a volunteer is about the only way we can think of to improve the experience of the Denton Arts & Jazz Festival. It’s tough to beat seven stages of music, terrific food vendors and outstanding arts and crafts.

The music lineup features some of the best performers from all over the country, representing about 18 states, Short said. She said there will be headliners on the Jazz Stage each night. The David Sanborn Trio will take the stage Friday night, the Original Blues Brothers Band will play Saturday and Brave Combo will close out the festival Sunday.

What more can we say? The Denton Arts & Jazz Festival is an outstanding entertainment experience, and we encourage everyone to check it out this weekend. Hours are 5 to 11 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday. You can find a schedule at www.dentonjazzfest.com.

It’s a Denton tradition that just keeps getting better and better, and you don’t want to miss it.

 


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