Carmel Jazz Festival set for debut in August


Carmel residents Blair Clark and Ashley Ulbricht want to celebrate their love of jazz and the city.

Thus, the Carmel Jazz Festival is set for an August debut.

Clark is the executive director/chief executive officer of the nonprofit. Ulbricht, an attorney, is the president.

Clark said part of the mission is to showcase Carmel’s state-of-the-art entertainment venues.

“It’s not only one of the best places to live, but it’s one of the best places to come for entertainment, and we have some great event spaces for that,” said Clark, a vocalist who also coaches.

Blair Clark, left, and Ashley Ulbricht are the organizers of Carmel Jazz Festival. (Photo by Mark Ambrogi)

The Carmel Jazz Festival is set for Aug. 11-12 at several venues across the city.

“We want to bring the flavor, feel and flair of New Orleans to Carmel,” Ulbricht said. “We have all these venues, but we don’t have a dedicated music festival for Carmel that includes other international and national acts.”

Acts will perform at The Tarkington and Studio Theater at the Center for the Performing Arts and outside the venues on Carter Green. There also will be acts at the Carmel Gazebo.

“We are partnering with the Palladium for at least one act,” said Ulbricht, a violinist and backup vocalist for SixFigures.

Ulbricht said Feinstein’s cabaret at Hotel Carmichael also is a partner, and there will be multiple acts in the two-day period.

“We are putting up some pop-up performances, sponsored by the city, during Meet Me on Main, which is always the second Saturday of the month,” Clark said.

Clark said it will be a great indoor and outdoor opportunity, which includes food trucks, for attendees.

“We’re focused on making our local vendors and businesses put their productions and their stuff up there,” Clark said.

Ulbricht said there will be VIP experiences throughout the two-day festival.

Clark said they are in conversations with national performers, including Evelyn “Champagne” King.

Carmel resident Josh Kaufman, the winner of Season 6 of “The Voice,” is expected to perform. Among other area performers expected to appear are soul and blues singers Tad Robinson and Jennie DeVoe and jazz musician Steve Allee.

“We’re bringing the top-end local acts around the state of Indiana,’ Clark said. “We want to make sure it’s an all-inclusive experience of local, international and regional acts.”

Jazz bands from Indiana University, Ball State University and Butler University will perform Aug. 12 at the Studio Theater.

“Then all the professors from those colleges will be performing after that at The Tarkington,” Clark said. “We’re hoping to get the high school jazz bands as well. One of the missions is to get instruments and lessons in the hands of underprivileged kids. We’ll be collaborating with other musical outlets to get them to donate instruments and the instructors to donate some free lessons.”

A portion of the proceeds from the festival will benefit that mission.

Current Publishing is serving as the media sponsor.

The hours are 5 to 10 p.m. Aug. 11 and 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Aug. 12. Tickets are $25 for Aug. 11, $35 for Aug. 12 and $50 for both days. Attendees will get wristbands to enter different venues.

There will be separate tickets for performances at Palladium and Feinstein’s.

For more information and tickets, visit