Carmel Jazz Fest to feature city’s variety of venues


The Carmel Jazz Fest will feature a first for the city.

During the Aug. 11-12 festival, all the main musical venues will be utilized at the same time, Carmel Jazz Fest Executive Director/Chief Executive Officer Blair Clark said.

“One of the great things is we have multiple venues that are different experiences for everyone,” Clark said. “You have the Gazebo experience, the Palladium experience, where it’s a concert in a beautiful state-of-the-art facility. We’ve got Feinstein’s, where you can have a nice meal and it’s a cabaret-type of setting.”

In addition, there are outdoor concert spaces at Carter Green and indoor experiences at The Tarkington and Studio Theater at the Center for the Performing Arts. 

“So, you have these six venues with various experiences all in close proximity with one another,” Clark said.

Along with music, there will be food and alcohol vendors.

Clark said partnering with the City of Carmel, the Center for the Performing Arts and Feinstein’s at the Hotel Carmichael has been essential.

“It really does take a village to pull it off and make it successful,” Clark said. “We have to collaborate on so many different levels. That takes a lot of organization and cooperation. We were thankful for the sponsors we have.”

Clark said he has received advice and help from Indy Jazz Festival, the Elkhart Jazz Festival and CarmelFest.

“I know the music business, but I’ve never done an event of this size,” he said. “Since this is a big undertaking, there have been organizations that have been nice enough to lend their knowledge and help me and the people who are a part of this. We have a great board but there are always going to be things you need a little more knowledge from people who have done it year after year.”

Clark said CarmelFest organizers have been especially helpful. CarmelFest is run by the Rotary Club of Carmel.

Jeffrey McDermott, Center for the Performing Arts president and chief executive officer, is glad the Center venues are taking part in the festival.

“I think it’s wonderful we can be a part of it and that the City of Carmel has the infrastructure to make something like this happen between the three venues at the Center for the Performing Arts and all the other community spaces and Feinstein’s,” McDermott said. 

McDermott said the Center focuses on rental opportunities for weddings and corporate functions during the summer because the average music patron likes to be outdoors. 

“This is a great combination because there is an opportunity for the festival to secure some spaces through us for what they are offering and have our own performance with Spyro Gyra during the festival weekend,” McDermott said. “It’s a nice coordination of events and spaces where these spaces might not be available at different times of the year.”

Spyro Gyra will perform in a separate ticketed event at 8 p.m. Aug. 12 at the Palladium. The shows at The Tarkington and Studio Theater might expose new audience members to those venues as well.

“I always say, statistically, if someone comes to the Center for the Performing Arts once to see a show, there is an 80 percent chance they’ll come back,” McDermott said. “Any time we can bring in new people who haven’t experienced performances, educational events, celebrations, we’re likely exposing them to something they are going to enjoy in the future.”

Feinstein’s will have two separate ticketed jazz events during the Carmel Jazz Festival. They are Harry Allen with Rossano Sportiello Aug. 11 and Denise Thimes Aug. 12.

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