Eau Claire Jazz Festival kicks of with 52nd St. event

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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- Jazz, swing, and big band music is filling the air in downtown Eau Claire right now and will continue to do so throughout the night as the Eau Claire Jazz festival kicks off.

This is the 51st Annual Eau Claire Jazz Festival and as part of it, 52nd Street has become the event to be at for jazz lovers and those who enjoy live music up close and personal. Barstow St. will be blocked off for the rest of the night as the jazz continues to flow.

To jazz lovers delight, the classic sounds of trumpets and drums are in abundance Friday night.

“This is fabulous,” Maureen McRaith of Eau Claire said. “You can’t find this amount of music in one spot. You can go for hours and see all kinds of different things. It’s a great event.”

John Genskow, an Eau Claire Jazz Inc. Board member, says Friday night's event is called 52nd St. because it's a throwback to 1930s and 40s Midtown Manhattan when jazz clubs were the place to be. In Eau Claire’s version, there are a few big-name artists, but the rest of the bands are local jazz musicians.

“A lot of the venues are just regular jazz musicians and they always appreciate a crowd,” Genskow said. “It’s just fun. They play to their passion and to have somebody enjoy that passion, it makes it that much more worthwhile.”

Ann Johnson of Eau Claire says the event brings her back to great memories with her family.

“I grew up in Bloomer, Wisconsin and we always had the polka festival and they would always close off the street and it reminded me of that,” Johnson said. “It’s really fun and I think it’s great for the City of Eau Claire.”

Others say they saw what downtown Eau Claire was like before it became filled with song.

“We’ve lived in town for 25 years now, and when I first came to town, this downtown was nothing,” Scott Siewert of Eau Claire said. “I used to walk the dogs down here and you’d see nobody. It’s vibrant and alive. It’s great.”

And the weather was picture perfect for a good time to get out of the house.

“Winter’s over, we’ve got sunshine, and sunshine,” Genskow said. “This is a good chance to see your neighbors, see your friends, and enjoy some really good music.”

Besides what's happening in the downtown area Friday night, UW-Eau Claire is hosting a number of high school, middle school, and college bands throughout the weekend as part of the jazz festival.


Jazz, swing, and big band music is filling the air in downtown Eau Claire right now and will continue to do so throughout the night as the Eau Claire Jazz festival kicks off.

This is the 51st Annual Eau Claire Jazz Festival and as part of it, 52nd Street has become the event to be at for jazz lovers and those who enjoy live music up close and personal. Barstow St. will be blocked off for the night as the music gears up.

Bands are playing right now on Barstow St. in bars and on the street. You can get food, drinks, listen to several types of music, and have a great time. There are performances by more than a dozen bands this evening from 6 p.m. until 2 a.m. John Genskow, an Eau Claire Jazz Inc. Board member, says Friday night's event is called 52nd St. because it's a throwback to 1930s and 40s Midtown Manhattan when jazz clubs were the place to be.

This event features all kinds of artists from college music students and professionals who have been playing jazz their entire lives.

“There’s 3 pavilions where people can buy wristbands,” Genskow said. “Wristbands are $10. Once you buy one of those, you’ll have access to all the venues. And again, there’s stuff on the street, so that you can just come down and be a part of.”

Besides what's happening in the downtown area Friday night, UW-Eau Claire is hosting a number of high school, middle school, and college bands throughout the weekend as part of the jazz festival.



 
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