Watertown Music & Arts Festival

History of the Music & Arts Festival

History of the Music & Arts Festival

A group of local citizenswith a love of jazz music dreamed of a jazz festival held in Watertown—no one else was doing Jazz Festivals at the time. John Jewell and Sharon McComb put a committee together to plan for the first annual event, and would continue through 2004 as the primary organizers of the event.

1996—First year! With budget of $6,000 and 6 groups, Firehouse Jazz, The Establishment, Som Brasiliero, Conversation, Mood Swing, and Glenn Martin and Company. Steve Farnsley was Music Director. MC Harry Stephenson, WAMB Radio Setup on TWO STAGES, it was a one day event, on Sat from 10am – 4pm — Attendance probably 300-500.

1997—Glenn Martin Music Director :: 8 Groups, one day event—11am-10pm much larger evening crowd

1998—Glenn Martin Music Director ::8 groups, one day event—3pm – 12am Crowds continue to grow. This was the first year for an excursion train to come to Jazz Festival (Nashville & Eastern Rail Road) MC Betty Stephens

1999—Glenn Martin Music Director: :: 11 groups, one day event, 1pm-10pm. MC John McMillin and Stephen Brown

2000—Glenn Martin Music Director:: For the first time the eventexpands to TWO DAY —Friday 6pm-11pm and Saturday 3pm-11pm. 14 groups and a budget of $24,000. Boots Randolph also featured as a headliner. Added bleacher seating to accommodate the ever growing crowds.

2001—Glenn Martin Music Director :: Continues as a two day event – Friday 5pm-12am and Sat 4pm-12am Boots Randolph is the headliner again, and crowds top 4,000 for both nights.

2002—Glenn Martin Music Director :: Friday 3pm-12am and Sat 2:30pm-12am 23 groups! Budget continues at about $25,000 Attendance about 6,000 for both nights. MC Gary Batey

2003-Glenn Martin Music Director :: Friday 1p-10p and Sat. 1p-10p Budget grows to $60,000. Headliners Friday Pete Christlieb, Andy Martin and the Lori Mechem Trio. Saturday Maynard Ferguson and Bib Bop Nouveau MC Gary Batey Crowds of 8,000 for both nights!

2004—Glen Martin Music Director :: Friday 5pm-11pm with six performers. Featuring Ed Shaughnessy & The Tonight Show All-Stars. Saturday: 12:pm – 11pm with 10 performers. FeaturingEllis Marsalis and Bob Curnow with the Nashville Jazz Orchestra.

2005—The original event planners stepped down after 2004 – because the event had grown so larget it was difficult to find a new planner, and the future of the Watertown Jazz Festival was in jeopardy. A new group of volunteers took over, with the help of Cumberland University. Because of the late start, the event was scaled back in size, 9 groups this year, and one night only – Saturday only, 4pm – 12pm. Featuring Boots Randolph and the Cumberland Jazz Group

2006—Another great event thanks to the continued efforts of the new volunteers and organizers. Saturday only, 3pm – 12pm. Featuring Nashville Jazz Machine, Earl & Ernie Vantrease (w/ Donald Brown), Cumberland University Quartet, Jeff Coffin Mutet, US Navy Band, Pat Coil Sextet, Jim Ferguson Quartet, Bonnie Bramlett, and Mulligan Stew.

2007—Once again the Watertown Jazz Festival is in full form – two stages and seven bands provide a fantastic evening of live jazz music. The headliners, the Nashville Jazz Orchestra with Annie Sellick, really brought the crowd to their feet with an outstanding performance.

2008—As the event continues to grow, the organizers realize that professional planning is the key to a well organize, well run event. Planit Nashville is contracted to take over planning and fund raising for 2008….stay tuned, more to come!

2009—This year the festival grew from a focus on jazz only, to a wider range of diverse musical styles.

2010—View the 2010 line-up of performers from the 2010 Watertown Music and Arts Festival.

2011—View the 2011 line-up of performers as well as the 2011 participating artists, many of whom will be participating in the 2012 festival.

2012—View the 2012 line-up of performers as well as the 2012 participating artists, many of whom will be participating in the 2013 festival.

2013—View the 2013 line-up of performers as well as the 2013 event sponsors, many of whom will be participating in the 2014 festival.

2014—View the 2014 line-up of performers as well as the 2014 event sponsors, many of whom will be participating in the 2015 festival.

2015—View the 2015 line-up of performers as well as the 2015 event sponsors, many of whom will be participating in the 2016 festival.

2016—View the 2016 line-up of performers, many of whom will be participating in the 2017 festival.


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