Monday, February 4, 2008

Jazz-tastic Weekend in Athens

By Simona Vogel

Athens is already known for its rich music culture, but it was about time for a new addition. This weekend the first Athens Winter Jazz & Blues Festival took place. And by the look of it, it won’t be the last.

The main star of the weekend was trumpeter Mark Pender, who you probably know from “Late Night with Conan O'Brien" as part of The Max Weinberg 7.
Pender played with different bands all weekend and was impressed by the great atmosphere and the outcome of the festival.

But the Jazz Festival wasn't just about listening to music and entertaining the audience, it also served as an opportunity for young talent to learn something new from the experienced musicians.

R &B Station plays at the Casa Nueva Friday Night

In a workshop at Alexander High School Mark Pender and the R &B Station rehearsed some original songs with the student band and prepared for two shows on Saturday night and Sunday afternoon. Parents and visitors of the show were equally impressed with how professionally the high school band performed on stage.

Alexander High School students play with Mark Pender at Arts/West on Sunday afternoon.

From Friday through Sunday visitors of the festival could choose between five different venues including Casa Nueva, Toscano's, Jackie o's, Arts/West & Brenen's.
And although it was Superbowl Sunday, that couldn't keep the bands from playing at Arts/West in the afternoon, finishing the show just in time for the audience to get back home to see the start of the Superbowl.

R &B Station and Mark Pender at Arts/West Saturday afternoon.

The Athens County Visitors Bureau does not have any numbers yet, but by first impression there were more visitors at every venue than expected which makes it very likely that the event will take place again next year. Depending on the success there might be more venues in the future and more bands.

Useful Links:
Jazzfestival Website
Mark Pender Band
R & B Station

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