iRock JAZZ kickstarts Veteran’s Day weekend this year in New Buffalo, as bringing some of the finest local, national and internationally known jazz musicians to town for its first-ever iRock JAZZ Fest. The one-day music fest on Saturday, Nov. 8 will provide a smorgasbord of musical talent for guests, with performances staged at six venues: Bentwood Tavern, Brewster’s Italian Café, Casey’s, El Rancho Grande, New Buffalo Yacht Club, Roma Pizza and Timothy’s. Tickets are $20 for general admission to all venues. A $30 VIP ticket will admit guests to the opening ceremony, as well as performances at all the venues.
The weekend entertainment begins on Friday with a screening of the recently released documentary “Finding Fela.” The film explores the political struggles, musical brilliance and peculiar character of Nigerian musician and political activist Fela Anikulapo Kuti, known as the forefather of Afrobeat. Tickets are $20 for the opening event, which includes a VIP reception and producer Q & A. Saturday’s VIP jazz fest ticket holders can add the Friday night events for only $10. Admission to the screening alone on Saturday is $10.
iRock JAZZ founder and CEO John Moultrie says the jazz fest is an ideal way to attract crowds and business to what he calls the “crown jewel of Harbor County” during the off-season. “When things die down in fall and winter, businesses still have to stay open—and it can be a struggle,” he said. “I have always desired to create a way to fuel new business into the area. So I put on my urban planner hat on and created another great reason for tourists to visit the city and surrounding areas during the down time.”
New Buffalo is about a 90-minute drive from Chicago, located at the mouth of the Galien River on Michigan’s west coast, just north of the Indiana border.
The stellar lineup for the weekend includes three groups Patrick Booth Trio, Chris Greene Quartet, the Hope College Jazz Arts Collective, saxophonists Darius Hampton and Marqueal Jordan, trumpeter Chris Lawrence , pianist Steve Talaga and vocalists Kimmie Horn and Dara Tucker. Check website, iRock.com for the schedule