CAMDEN — Rockland has always had the North Atlantic Blues Festival and Belfast has its All Roads Music Festival; it’s about time Camden got into the action. This weekend, a number of local organizers are putting on Camden’s first-ever Jazz in June Festival at multiple venues all weekend (June 14-16).
“There was a strong desire from various Midcoast folks to have an exciting event in June, as a way to kick off the season,” said Dave Morrison, Manager of the Camden Opera House, which is hosting some of the events. “While there is a Blues Festival, and a Folk Festival, there wasn’t a concert series that really shone a light on jazz, not just national and international acts, but some of the very fine local players. Matt Brown stepped up, and started creating what we hope will be an annual festival that celebrates jazz in all its forms, and the beautiful Midcoast."
Matt Brown is the leader of this community volunteer-produced event.
“It started about four years ago when members of the Camden Area Business Group wanted some kind of event to bring people here in June, earlier in the summer season,” said Brown.
The idea originated there and the lodging group knew that I had put on jazz shows at the Camden Opera House previously, so last summer, we began looking for the right line up for a Jazz in June Festival.”
Brown said the Saturday night headliner concert featuring the Kenny Barron Trio is a, “top-notch international act who has played with the greatest jazz artists for 60 years and he’s got a great reputation.”
“We’ve really been cognizant about doing something low cost and for free,” said Brown. “We’ve got five bands at the Camden Snow Bowl Saturday afternoon for $15 or $25 for the entire family. We’re featuring a good combination of national acts with great local acts, trying to balance it out for locals, for people coming in from out of town.”
Here’s the Line Up:
Friday, June 14
Camden Opera House
The Opera House doors will open at 7 p.m. for the 7:30 p.m. performance by the Bill Barnes Duo, featuring the veteran New York session guitarist, up on the third floor. Admission is free, and 40 Paper provides a cash bar.
Camden Snow Bowl
A Jazz in June Dance Party featuring The Right Track begins at 7:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. The high-energy 11-piece multi-genre outfit boasts a full horn section and outstanding vocalists. Tickets are $15, in advance at camdenoperahouse.com and at the gate (cash/check, only). Note, in case of rain, the event will be re-located to the Rockport Opera House.
Saturday, June 15
Camden Snow Bowl
From noon to 5 p.m., it’s music on the mountainside, thanks to a full lineup of regional performers at the Snow Bowl. Included are the Wayne Delano Quartet, led by the award-winning reed master; emerging roots singer/songwriter Katie Matzell; local progressive jazzmeisters the Whitehead/Dean Group and jazz/funk fusion Hyperphonix; and The Extension Chords, a youthful jazz combo that just won the MAMM Slam. Tickets are $15, free younger than 6, $25 per family. Jazz on the hillside will feature music, a food tent and fun for the whole family. Note, in case of rain, the event will be re-located to the Rockport Opera House.
Camden Opera House
At 7:30 p.m. is the Jazz in June Feature Concert. Headliner is the acclaimed Kenny Barron Trio, led by jazz pianist, composer and music professor Barron. The NEA Jazz Master and American Jazz Hall of Famer has been called the most lyrical piano player of our time by Jazz Weekly. The Feature Concert also showcases the Greg Abate Quartet. And pianist and educator Peter Dembski will bring his piano jazz group to the opera house stage. Tickets are $48 in advance, $53 at the door. All Access Pass holders ($99) get priority seating around 6:45 p.m.; general admission doors will open at 7 p.m.
Sunday, June 16
16 Bay View
A sumptuous live Jazz Brunch in the Curtis-Bok Banquet Room of downtown boutique hotel 16 Bay View. takes place 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Brunch is included in the All Access Pass, is $35.
There will be a free outdoor performance by the beloved local Mondaynite Jazz Orchestra, 2 to 3:30 p.m. in the Camden Amphitheatre adjacent to the library.
Tickets and passes are available at camdenoperahouse.com
For complete festival information, visit jazzinjunecamdenme.com
Kay Stephens can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org