The fourth annual Rubber City Jazz & Blues Festival will take place from Aug. 23 through 25 at various locations throughout downtown Akron.
The three-day festival features a plethora of free performances with some select ticketed events, including a concert by acclaimed jazz pianist and special guest Robert Glasper.
This year’s theme is “The Rhythms of Akron,” and performance venues will include Blu Jazz+, Musica, High Street Hop House, Akron-Summit County Public Library and the Maiden Lane Stage.
“Jazz and blues have played an essential role in creating the spirit, identity and shape of the Akron community,” said Theron Brown, director of the Rubber City Jazz & Blues Festival. “Individuals who attend will enjoy hearing music from a variety of well-known local and national musicians.”
This year’s lineup includes Glasper, Theron Brown, Dan Wilson, Sammy Deleon, Tom Lehman, Helen Welch, Holbrook Riles III, Elijah Gilmore, Evelyn Wright, Jackie Warren, Maria Jacobs, Daniel Spearman, Aidan Plank, Daniel Bruce, Cliff Barnes, Joe Hunter, Curtis Taylor, Lucas Kadish, Bobby Selvaggio, James Johnson II, Jeremey Poparad, Chris Coles, Josh Rzepka, Nathan-Paul Davis, Phil Anderson and others.
The festival’s purpose is to orchestrate work ethic, self-esteem and respect through music performance and education for a vibrant arts community. The event is an initiative of Open Tone Music, a Boys & Girls Clubs of Northeast Ohio subsidiary that provides free access to world-class performances and music education to students in kindergarten through grade 12.
The festival is sponsored by PEG’s Foundation, Akron Community Foundation and the University of Akron, among others. Last year’s festival included 120 artists, 24 local businesses and approximately 2,000 people, and provided the unique opportunity for audience members to discover locally and nationally renowned musicians. The 2018 festival also included various vendors and a parade led by Brown and Cold City Brass.
“We are so thankful for the generous contributions from our sponsors over the years,” said Chris Anderson, Open Tone’s executive director. “Music plays an important role in developing the students’ work ethic, self-esteem and respect. We have seen many students reach their goals as a result of attending the programs. The fundraising efforts of the past festivals have allowed us to engage dozens of students through a partnership with Miller South School, the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Western Reserve, Compass Christian Church and The University of Akron.”
“We have great plans for the next festival,” said Brown. “Next year, in 2020, will be our five year anniversary. We plan to go big then and do something really special. You don’t want to miss what we have planned.”