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Arts & Culture

Weekend In Entertainment: Charlotte Jazz Festival


Charlotte’s Annual Jazz Festival is in full swing in uptown. This year’s lineup features Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis, Broadway songstress Patina Miller with a tribute to Nina Simone, and free week-long performances at The Jazz Garden Tent at Romare Bearden Park. Q City Metro Managing Editor Katrina Louis joined WFAE’s Mark Rumsey to help navigate the vast Charlotte Jazz Festival and more happening this weekend.

Katrina Louis, QCity Metro
Credit Sarafina Wright
Katrina Louis, QCityMetro Managing Editor.

Mark Rumsey: I know that a festival or concert or such may not be everyone's choice after such a difficult week. That said major events are still on the calendar, right?

Louis: Right. There is a lot going on. I think it'll be an opportunity to still get together and find a little bit of joy happening around the city.

Rumsey: All right. Well, let's talk about the options here and we'll begin uptown where the annual Charlotte Jazz Festival is in full swing. This year's lineup includes some big names right?

Louis: Of course. So the Jazz Festival is one of the events during Charlotte Shout and you can get your jazz fix through Saturday. There's jazz heavyweight Wynton Marsalis who's usually a staple during the festival and Tony Award winner Patina Miller who's actually a native of Pageland, South Carolina. She performs on Saturday at the Knight Ttheater. And then you get to enjoy sets from local big names like Ossie Davis, co-founder of Jazz Arts Charlotte.

Rumsey: How big is this? What kind of crowds do we see at this?

Louis: It'll probably take over uptown. They have a lot of free events. I'm actually emceeing an event tonight, so I'm pretty excited about that. But at Levine Avenue of the Arts you'll have the Jazz Tent at Bearden, so look for thousands of people to be on the scene.

Rumsey: All right. Jazz Festival. Another festival happening just south of Uptown is called the King's Drive Art Walk and that's happening on Saturday. Tell us about the art walk.

Louis: So the Art Walk is the spring portion of Festival in the Park, which takes place in the fall. So that this is actually the 9th annual Art Walk, and it's actually happening Saturday and Sunday on the Little Sugar Creek Greenway at the corner of East Morehead Street and Kings Drive, near the Metropolitan. So there'llk be merchant artists as well as music, food and a lot of family friendly entertainment.

Rumsey: So this is art on display and for purchase along the Greenway?

Louis: Correct. So you can just be a spectator and enjoy viewing it, or if you have a little collection bone in your body, you'll have the option to purchase some of the art on display.

Rumsey: Okay. Speaking of walking, another event this weekend is the City Walks. This activity is put on by UNC Charlotte's Urban Institute. Tell us about the City Walks.

Louis: So the City Walks is a citizen-led walking tour. They were inspired by a lady named Jane Jacobs, who's a famous neighborhood champion that lived in New York and Toronto. So this is actually the eighth year that Charlotte has done the City Walks. And they’re free walking tours that that expose people to Charlotte’s history and food scene. Some of the neighborhoods are pretty popular and spots fill up pretty quickly, so you would want to register early if you are interested in doing them.

Rumsey: And what neighborhoods are up for the walking this time?

Louis: So although there are walks happening throughout the month of May, this weekend the focus will be on NoDa. So mills, murals and history on Saturday and then on Sunday, the Charlotte Museum of History is co-sponsoring a walk that's going to highlight uptown around the time of the Revolutionary War. So that'll be the Liberty Walk tour.

Rumsey: Very good Katrina. And on this first weekend in May, it's time for Cinco de Mayo. On Sunday May 5. How about that? What's going on with that festival in Charlotte this weekend?

Louis: So the Cinco de Mayo Festival, that's going to be taking place at Aldersgate community in East Charlotte. It's hosted by Norsan Media. It celebrates the Spanish holiday of Cinco de Mayo on May 5. So again, that's another opportunity for performances celebrating you know the Mexican-American population. There will be crafts. It's just a good time to learn some culture, and enjoy the weather and festivities.

Every Thursday tune into All Things Considered on WFAE 90.7 for our latest Weekend in Entertainment segment featuring voices from Charlotte's media scene bringing you the latest music, cultural and social events.