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Chestertown Jazz Festival 2018

September 5, 2018 @ 8:00 am - September 10, 2018 @ 5:00 pm

The Chestertown Jazz Festival, with Mel Rapelyea booking it all, will spread classic jazz, the sound of New Orleans, blues and gospel around Kent County in early September, bringing top-flight talent to the Garfield, Sumner Hall, Wilmer Park, The Mainstay and Crow Vineyards over six days.

“We’ll have people dancing to The Conservatory Classic Jazz Band at the Garfield on opening night, Wednesday, September 5,” Rapelyea said, “and the Josh Espinoza Trio will pack folks into The Mainstay on evening two. Friday night will rock the rafters at a concert called “Fade to Blue” at the Garfield, followed by “Roots of Music of New Orleans” at Sumner Hall on Saturday morning. “Fade To Blue” features a local songstress from Big Woods, Wen DeVear aka Wendy Johnson Blake.”

Saturday afternoon and evening are when The Chestertown Jazz Festival gives its loyal and expanding audience, from both sides of the Chesapeake Bay, the jazz love-fest that fills an enormous tent on the Chester River in Wilmer Park. According to Rapelyea, September’s line-up is more powerful than ever.

He adds, “Karen Somerville will open with that great gospel sound she does so well, then we’ll have four great headliners: Capital Focus keeps New Orleans jazz alive and awesome, Ajoyo blends an African beat that reaches into your heart with jazz you’d hear at the best New York clubs, then we’re bringing the fabulous Sharón Clark back because she’s one of the best jazz vocalists in the world. And we’ll close with the amazing trumpet of Sean Jones, out front with his Sean Jones Quartet.”

All that, and there will still be two festival days to go. On Sunday, jazz and wine lovers are invited to Kennedyville for the Annual Crowfest at Crow Vineyards, then return to The Mainstay on the evening of Monday, September 10, to hear Joe Holt at the piano, performing with Baltimore bassist Tom Baldwin and a young percussion phenom, Aggie Brown.

The first ever Swing Dance Party will be held on Wednesday, September 5, when Washington’s seven-piece Conservatory Classic Jazz Band will set the beat for “The Peoples Dance Party” at the Garfield, an event and is sponsored by The Peoples Bank.

On Saturday, September 8 at 10 a.m., there will be an “invitation only” concert. Capital Focus will perform “Roots of Music of New Orleans.” This performance is sponsored by Arts in Motion, a program launched a few years ago by Mainstay founder Tom McHugh and Kent County Public Schools’ Gina Jachimowicz to give local young people a chance to see, hear and meet outstanding professional performers and artists.

For Sharón Clark, who’s brought festival and concert audiences to their feet across the U.S. and Europe for years, the Wilmer Park performance will be a return appearance.

Sharón said, “This quaint little town displays a magnum of real jazz at this yearly festival. My second appearance will feature songs honoring the most beautiful season of the year, in my opinion, fall – ‘September Song,’ ‘Autumn Leaves,’ ‘September in the Rain’ and more. I’m looking forward to seeing you all there.”

For more information, see the Chestertown Jazz Festival page on Facebook. For information and advance ticket sales, visit www.garfieldcenter.org or call 410-810-2060.


September 5, 2018 @ 8:00 am
September 10, 2018 @ 5:00 pm


Kent County, Maryland
Chestertown, MD 21620 United States + Google Map
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Allison Rogers



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