Music

Bellhaven Jazz Festival

Coming of age

Thursday, September 10, 2015

It would seem that if you’re a locally based music festival, you haven’t really come of age until you’ve undergone a change of venue. Often, this relocation of real estate is related to an event’s growth (Downtown Sounds, Subdued Stringband Jamboree), and sometimes any number of factors conspire to compel an undertaking to seek a new locale (Summer Meltdown).

By that logic, the Bellhaven Jazz Festival is acting out a well-established rite of passage with its move to the Fairhaven Village Green.

If the name of this musical gathering sounds only vaguely familiar, that’s because, for the four years prior to its change of address, it was called the Bellwether Jazz Festival and took place at Tom Glenn Park, also known as the grassy expanse between the Bellwether Hotel and Bellingham Bay.

As these things go, it was a pretty nice place to stage an all-day, family-friendly, free annual jazz festival

The brain trust behind the event is the Jazz Project, a longstanding arts nonprofit that has been steadfastly bringing jazz music to the masses for nearly 20 years. The brain trust behind the Jazz Project is Jud Sherwood, who has been doing the same since long before he founded an official organization to serve that purpose. Over the decades, Sherwood has proven himself to be possessing of great drive, vision, community spirit, organizational ability and follow through—in short, almost all the things a person would need to successfully pull off the nonprofit’s many endeavors, up to and including the Bellwether Jazz Festival.

But the Jazz Project is not gifted with overflowing coffers—it is a nonprofit, after all—and while Sherwood is a resourceful man, he must sometimes rely on outside funding to make his jazz-related dreams reality. And so he’d counted on the largesse of the Port of Bellingham to help secure his plum festival spot on the city’s waterfront. All was well until the Port pulled the Project’s funding for the 2015 iteration, forcing the festival to hit the road in search of a new home.

Undeterred, Sherwood soldiered on, set his sights on the Southside and found a place to plant his all-day jazz jam. New surroundings dictated an updated name to match, and so the event is now the Bellhaven Jazz Festival, a simple, all-encompassing moniker that will no doubt help the happening make a seamless transition to the Fairhaven Village Green.

As ever, the festival is a daylong affair, running from 12pm-7pm, and is also free, family-friendly, easily accessed and open to all—in short, the only things that have changed about the annual event is its name and location. For those who are of age, five bucks nabs an initial beverage in the beer and wine garden, and attendees are encouraged to bring their own seating.

And, as ever, Sherwood has used his innate resourcefulness and the goodwill he, his nonprofit and his festival have engendered to ensure a full day’s worth of entertainment both varied and excellent. Bands tapped to play include perennial favorites Blues Union, the Gail Pettis Trio, Samba Soul 7, and more. Festival founder Sherwood will also take the stage—drumming for the trio that bears his name—and accomplished trumpet player Dmitri Matheny will join in on this particular piece of the fun.

One could look upon the Bellhaven Jazz Festival’s change of location as a drawback. Or one could adopt the stance, as many of us no doubt will, that Fairhaven offers charms different than, but equal to, the occasion’s former surroundings. Some might view the Village Green as being superior to Tom Glenn Park, all things considered. Personally, I see the move as a sign of the event’s evolution and a further chapter of its coming of age—Bellingham’s own particular brand of growing pains.

New Money Silver Reef
More Music...
Two Nights at the Lincoln
Of fishin’ and family drama

Almost exactly a year ago, I wrote a story about a Rufus Wainwright concert at the Lincoln Theatre in which I detailed the long, fraught history of the Wainwright clan. In summary, Rufus is the son of musicians Loudon Wainwright III and Kate McGarrigle, and brother to Martha Wainwright,…

more »
Portland Cello Project
To boldly go

I remember the exact moment I discovered that I have a thing for the cello.

It didn’t happen at a classical music concert the way a proper romance with a dignified stringed instrument should. Nor did was I seduced by Yo-Yo Ma, whose cello mastery has launched more than a few love affairs…

more »
Nappy Roots
Got my stunna shades on

When the likes of Grandmaster Flash, DJ Kool Herc, the Sugarhill Gang, and others were pioneering hip-hop in the 1970s, it was very much an underground genre, passed from one person to the next like a secret. The music was gritty, exciting and entirely of the moment—the poetry of the…

more »
Events
Today
Bellinghamster One-Act Theater Festival (BOAT)

7:00pm|Bellingham Theatre Guild

Cascadia Weekly's Fiction 101 Contest

10:00am

A Forest of Words Poetry Competition

10:00am|Whatcom County

Call to Artists for Spring Juried Exhibit

10:00am|Jansen Art Center

Literacy Council Seeks Volunteers

10:00am

Wild Things

9:30am|Lake Padden Park

Deep Forest Experience

11:00am|Rockport State Park

Books and Bites

1:00pm|Blaine Library

Peace Vigil

4:00pm|Downtown Bellingham

Art Auction Gala

5:30pm|Lightcatcher Building

Photography Exhibit Opening

6:00pm|Fourth Corner Frames and Gallery

Family Story Night

6:00pm|Fairhaven Library

Quieting the Monkey Mind

7:00pm|Village Books

Urinetown

7:00pm|BAAY Theatre

Space Trek

7:30pm|Upfront Theatre

Sanford-Hill Piano Series

7:30pm|Performing Arts Center Concert Hall

VoicePlay

7:30pm|Mount Baker Theatre

Courthouse Vaudeville

7:30pm|Territorial Whatcom County Courthouse

Trove Web
Tomorrow
Bellinghamster One-Act Theater Festival (BOAT)

7:00pm|Bellingham Theatre Guild

A Forest of Words Poetry Competition

10:00am|Whatcom County

Cascadia Weekly's Fiction 101 Contest

10:00am

Call to Artists for Spring Juried Exhibit

10:00am|Jansen Art Center

Literacy Council Seeks Volunteers

10:00am

Deep Forest Experience

11:00am|Rockport State Park

Urinetown

7:00pm|BAAY Theatre

Space Trek

7:30pm|Upfront Theatre

Pancake Breakfast

8:00am|Ferndale Senior Center

Martin Luther King, Jr. Conference

9:00am|Whatcom Community College

Larrabee Old Growth Exploration

9:00am|Fairhaven Parkway Park & Ride

Winter Fitness Hike

10:00am|Whistle Lake

Winter Farmers Market

10:00am|Depot Market Square

Plant Classes

10:00am|Garden Spot Nursery

Skagit Eagle Festival

10:00am|Rockport, Concrete, Marblemount

Skagit Eagle Festival

10:00am|Skagit County

The Basics of Sprouting

10:00am|Blaine Library

Deep Forest Experience

11:00am|Rockport State Park

Washington Remembers

12:00pm|Whatcom Museum's Old City Hall

When voices are silenced

12:00pm

MONA Openings

1:00pm|Museum of Northwest Art

Travel to the Philippines

1:30pm|Blaine Library

Rioja Tasting

2:00pm|Siefert & Jones Wine Merchants

Bellingham Roller Betties' Double Header

5:30pm|Lynden Skateway

An Evening with the Artist

6:00pm|Gallery Pegasus

Be IN the Show

6:00pm|Mount Baker Theatre

Unity Ball

7:00pm|The Majestic

Blue Abode Comedy Show

7:00pm|Blue Adobe Bar

Time Travel Sound Sessions

7:00pm|Anacortes Museum

The Shame of Losing

7:00pm|Village Books

Eagle Talk

7:30pm|Lummi Island Library

Hot House at the Courthouse

7:30pm|Territorial Whatcom County Courthouse

Fire and Grace

7:30pm|First Congregational Church

Village Books Los Vivancos
Sunday
Cascadia Weekly's Fiction 101 Contest

10:00am

Call to Artists for Spring Juried Exhibit

10:00am|Jansen Art Center

Deep Forest Experience

11:00am|Rockport State Park

Urinetown

7:00pm|BAAY Theatre

Skagit Eagle Festival

10:00am|Skagit County

Deep Forest Experience

11:00am|Rockport State Park

Sedro-Woolley Community Breakfast

8:00am|American Legion Post #43

Rabbit Ride

8:30am|Fairhaven Bicycle

Nookachamps Winter Runs

9:00am|Skagit Valley College

Skagit Eagle Festival

10:00am|Rockport, Concrete, Marblemount

Langar in Lynden

11:00am| Guru Nanak Gursikh Gurdwara

Deep Forest Experience

11:00am|Rockport State Park

Sips of the Season

1:00pm|Galloway's Cocktail Bar

Bill Evans

2:00pm|Nancy's Farm

Resolutions with the Bellingham Chamber Music Society

3:00pm|First Congregational Church of Bellingham

Poetry with Douglas Cole

4:00pm|Village Books

Seven Comedians

7:00pm|Upfront Theatre

see our complete calendar »

Choir of Man Village Books Cascadia Weekly Subscribe Ad 1 Trove Web Los Vivancos