For the Prairie Village Jazz Festival, Saturday’s performance lineup and weather forecast are both important and they both look near perfect a day before the big event.
It is year number three for the festival which took off in 2010 with huge crowds and then was truncated in 2011 by storms that ripped through the city and the stage during the performance. This year’s lineup again features some well-known names for Kansas City (or any place on the planet) jazz fans and the weather forecast is for upper 70s and sunny. It could not look any better right now for what has quickly become a signature event for Prairie Village.
Jack Shearer, the festival committee chair, says there is a thread that runs through the performers signed for the event: “they all are associated personally with performing in Kansas City.” The headline acts from Karrin Allyson, Bobby Watson and Megan Birdsall, as well as Mike Metheny, are familiar names in Kansas City. Diverse and Rich Wheeler are the first two performers opening the festival.
The other goal for the festival committee is getting some people in front of a bigger audience. Rich Wheeler is case in point because he usually is in a group, not out front. “It is a form of helping out the arts,” Shearer says, ” to get a venue where a headliner draws a crowd and get some other talent some exposure.” Larry Kopitnik is the committee member Shearer credits with arranging the talent for the festival.
So, logistics for the big day: bring a lawn chair or blanket; put on your sunscreen; don’t bring food or drink or coolers – it won’t be allowed in and there will be plenty for sale on the grounds, including beer and wine; don’t bring the dog, even if you named him Brubeck, he can’t get in; admission is free; parking available in the pool lot off Delmar, SM East lot off Mission, church lot south of city hall off Mission; city hall parking for ADA stickers; plan to spend the day; first act, Diverse opens at 3 p.m., last act, Karrin Allyson, goes on at 9:40 p.m.