By Philtrina Farquharson | Contributing Writer
After a two year hiatus due to the global pandemic, this past weekend the Long Beach Jazz Festival went on without a hitch for its 33rd annual edition, surely making up for the time lost.
Taking place at the picturesque Rainbow Lagoon Park, surrounded by beautiful waterways, the Southern California community came near and far to kickback, relax, and enjoy the soulful sounds of live music from many talented musicians across many different genres including Jazz, R&B, Latin, and Gospel.
Friday night’s highlight was eclectic singer songwriter Avery Sunshine, who kicked off the event with a family affair! Her husband was rocking out with her on the bass guitar while her son held it down on the drums, definitely setting the tone for the rest of the weekend.
Saturday’s crowd overwhelmed the space with an outstanding turnout. AWB (Average White Band) best known for their global hit ‘Pick Up The Pieces’ came to the stage and rocked the crowd, attendees of all ages got their groove on while listening to AWB’s series of soul and disco hits that brought festival goers back in time.
“It felt great to be on stage performing again. It was a great crowd that loves this kinda music and they were enjoying themselves. It makes it easier and fun to get paid to do this. Something I would do for free but felt so good to do it in front of an audience that appreciated it,” said Brent Carter, lead vocalist of AWB.
“My hope was for guests to come here and forget about all of their problems and just have a good time with us and just feel the love because we felt it from the audience,” said Carter. “It means the world to us.”
Although the live music was the main attraction, the Long Beach Jazz Festival food vendors made sure to leave their mark on attendees’ minds and bellies. There were more than ten food trucks/ food vendors serving guests including ‘Throwdown Soul Food’ serving hearty mouthwatering meals like oxtails.
In between sets, there was also an opportunity to support local black businesses that were selling a variety of items from art pieces, clothing, waist beads, to natural body butters. The outpouring of support from the black community supporting local black businesses shined throughout this past weekend.
The festival’s theme this year was ‘A Healthy Taste of Jazz’, which aimed to bring Jazz, health & wellness together, pleasing the senses while nourishing the mind, body, and soul ,and guests confirmed it did just that.
“With everything going on in the world now, it feels nice to be here. I am still on a high from this past weekend and will continue to show my support for this wonderful jazz festival in Long Beach,” said attendee, Anthony Grant.
Additional performers throughout the weekend included: Robert Glasper, AJ Williams Jazz Society, Sergio Mendes, and Damien Escobar.
As for now no 2023 dates have been announced yet, but the Long Beach Jazz Festival but guests are sure to be in for another delightful weekend of delightful music, food and community.