When Apex’s first ever jazz festival was held last year, it drew thousands of people downtown and garnered plenty of great feedback despite being organized in just a few short months.
This time around, the Apex Downtown Business Association had plenty of time to discuss, plan and organize the event.
So, just imagine how good it could be this year.
The Second Annual Apex Jazz Festival will be held Saturday, Sept. 15 at a variety of downtown locations throughout the day.
This year’s pub-crawl format will boast a wider variety of music styles, more performers and a beer garden next to the outdoor stage in the parking lot of the chamber of commerce building.
“We got an earlier start working on it this year,” said ADBA spokesman John Kozicki. “We started planning in January and we’ve had way more time to really look at the artists we wanted to bring in and we had more time to plan for the beer garden.
“Just in general, we were able to look at the things we did right last year and make sure everything was more streamlined and focused. I think its going to be as good as last year with better music and more of it.”
Kozicki, owner of Music and Rock School in Apex, said while the event remains a jazz festival it will also include some other styles of music.
“We tried to mix it up a little,” said Kozicki. “Last year, it was all jazz and this year we have some blues and R&B artists.”
Among the festival headliners are former Squirrel Nut Zippers singer Katharine Whalen and her newly-formed Katharine Whalen Trio; acoustic blues artist Mark Holland, formerly with the popular Chapel Hill band Jennyanykind; and Seth Walker of Austin, Texas, who will perform at the Halle Cultural Arts Center.
“We are really excited about who we have coming here this year,” said Kozicki.
Local blues greats Ironing Board Sam and Big Ron Hunter are also scheduled to perform.
“These are traditional old piedmont blues artists,” said Kozicki. “They are fantastic.”
The addition of a beer garden to the festival has also generated some buzz.
The beer garden will be set up next to the outdoor stage in the chamber parking lot and three bands will perform from 4:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Admission to the area is limited to those 21 and older.
“We had music at the chamber last year but on a small scale,” said Kozicki. “This year we wanted to make it more of a focal point. So we have a professional sound company and a beer garden with tents over everything.
“Everything is going to be fenced off. We will have people checking IDs on the way in and people making sure that nobody is taking alcohol out. We will also have an off-duty police officer on the premise during the event.”
Organizers hope the beer garden serves as a reminder to people that downtown Apex has businesses that cater to adults.
“The beer garden works in line with some of the businesses that do stay open later,” said Kozicki. “The ADBA is trying to get the word out that there are adult-oriented businesses that stay open later and are not specifically just for families.”
Tickets for the festival are available now at www.apexjazzfestival.com. Tickets for the outdoor stage and all of the pub venues are $10. All-inclusive tickets for the outdoor stage, all pub venues, and admission to the headliner performance at the Halle Cultural Arts center are $20.
The festival committee is still taking volunteers for a number of posts. Those interested in volunteering are asked to contact the volunteer coordinator, Stephanie Carola, at email@example.com.
For a full schedule of events visit www.apexjazzfestival.com