Jazz, Blues and Roots music festival returns Saturday

Live performances to be featured for second straight year on downtown square

By TERRY MATHEWS, News-Telegram Arts Editor

June 10, 2008 - An all-day "Jazz, Blues and Roots" music festival will be held in downtown Sulphur Springs this Saturday, June 14, the second time in as many years the musical extravaganza has been staged on the square.

A lineup of bands will be on stage on the downtown square from 9 a.m. to noon and then again from 6 p.m. until 10 p.m., according to event organizer Enola Gay Mathews.

"We began this festival last year with an event at the Blue Fountain Cafe," Mathews said. "It was successful for everyone, including the benefactors, Sulphur Springs High School Teen Court, who raised $1,000 for a sound system for their courtroom."

The Blue Fountain closed last year, but Mathews and David Woody, who is helping with the event, wanted the music to continue.

"We're still keeping it downtown," Mathews said. "We're moving the music to the stage by the courthouse and we've expanded the event to include a songwriter's clinic in the afternoon and a wine tasting and jazz jam in the early evening before the bands get back on stage."

Musicians scheduled to appear during the day-long event include Johnny C. Lately and Jack of Diamonds, Clint Brown and the Sulphur Kings, Connie Mims and Mark Beets, Lindale Robinson, Enola Gay and Kurt Bittner and the Out of Hand Band. Sound is being provided by 222, a Main Street business and recording studio.

The music is free, but Mathews advises everyone to bring lawn chairs to the square. Hot dogs will be offered by Downtown Business Alliance members, while Teen Court members will sell soft drinks and water to raise money for their projects. Hearts of Life Animal Rescue Agency will also be on hand with adoptable pets.

Between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. the festival is sponsoring a songwriter's clinic featuring one of the day's peformer's, Connie Mims, at the future home of The Nodding Dog restaurant, located in the old Nelson's Corner Drug building at Connally and Gilmer streets.

"Even though The Nodding Dog is not officially open for business, they are letting us use their facility for the songwriting clinic and the jam session that will follow," Mathews explained.

Connie Mims is a member of the Nashville Songwriters International, founder of The Woodlands Songwriters Association and is currently on the Board of Governors for the Texas Chapter of the Grammy Awards.

The registration fee for the songwriting clinic is $20, payable in advance or at the door. Registration forms are available at McKay's Music Store, Judy's Kitchen or Keith Bland, CPA. Completed forms and the entry fee may be mailed to P.O. Box 284, Sulphur Springs, TX 75483. Songwriters must be 12 years or older to apply.

A "guitar pull and song swap" session will follow the songwriting clinic from 3 p.m. until 5 p.m. There is no cost to attend the session.

"We want people to bring their acoustic guitars or portable keyboard and join in," Mathews said. "Or they can just come to watch and listen."

From 5 p.m. until 7 p.m., everyone is invited to J's Place (aka Judy's Kitchen) at 305 Main St. for wine, cheese and jazz indoors provided by Tammy Bittner and the owners of Lou Viney's Winery in Winnsboro.

The cost to attend this part of the festival is $10. Dinner from J's menu will also be served through the evening, and a $5 discount is available for attendees for dinner selections.

"We are going to feature steaks and brisket roast," said Judy Gilreath, owner of J's Place. "We cook the meat all night long. It's just like the old-timey pot roast, complete with gravy, potatoes and carrots."

At 6 p.m., the bands will once again take the stage on the courthouse square. Mathews said the bands will play until around 10 p.m.

For more information, call 903-438-3568 or 903-335-0756 or send an e-mail to Mathews at enolagay@ksstradio.net.

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