The blog of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
The sweet sound of jazz rhythms were bouncing through the air Saturday in an otherwise quiet neighborhood on Riverdale Drive in Macon. The music wasn't being delivered from the speakers of a passing car or from a jazz group practicing in a neighbor's garage. The melody was from a live band on stage in the middle of the street and from a neighborhood that has come together for nine years to host a one-of-a-kind event for the entire community.
"Jazz and Arts on Riverdale" is a one-day festival featuring live jazz, food and arts and crafts. The festival is held on a single street in a quaint neighborhood of adorable homes. It is a partnership with the residents, who must all approve of the closing of the street, and the Jazz Association of Macon (JAM). On Saturday, Riverdale Drive was lined with tents showcasing jewelry, pottery, painting and more. The stage was set up at one end of the street with tables for dining in front. Along the sides, on the lawns of neighborhood residents, visitors placed their lawn chairs and popped open their coolers. The atmosphere was festive and the music top notch.
The Jazz Association of Macon uses proceeds from the event to support their "JAM Goes Back to School" project which sends professional musicians to Middle Georgia's public and private schools. The group also awards the "Jazz Association of Macon Young Jazz Musician Scholarship" to a burgeoning musician each year. To engage visual artists, JAM holds a contest with the winning artist's work being used for the event poster. The featured artist is also awarded a booth at the event to sell their work. This year's winner was Travis Hart, a talented and prolific local artist.
"Jazz and Arts on Riverdale" is a fun, family-friendly event in an unlikely setting. Enjoying live music from the lawn of a resident of Riverdale Drive is a gift from the residents who so graciously close their street and welcome hundreds of visitors each year. Four bands played and more than 20 vendors participated in the event which has become an annual tradition.
Jazz Association of Macon: www.maconjazz.org