Four music festivals are taking place over the next few days, featuring blues, jazz, acoustic and chamber music in three different towns, and some for free.
Kicking off the weekend is the inaugural, oceanfront Gloucester Blues Festival, which will feature six world-class blues musicians spanning the genre from New Orleans blues to Chicago-fused blues on Saturday, Aug. 11, at an oceanfront site at Stage Fort Park from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. One of the award-winning musicians is Shemekia Copeland, who performed at the White House last February alongside Mick Jagger.
Others are Louisiana’s Kenny Neal, the son of blues harmonica master Raful Neal; Gloucester’s own Henri Smith, the Louisiana native who moved to Cape Ann in the wake of Hurricane Katrina; and Eddie Shaw & The Wolfgang, the backup band for the legendary Howlin’ Wolf until his death in 1975, as well as Dikki Du & The Zydeco Krewe and Lucky Peterson.
Rockport Music presents its first Rockport Music Jazz Festival with world-class jazz musicians performing at the waterfront Shalin Liu Performance Center from Aug. 15 to 21. The jazz festival opens with the three-time Grammy Award-nominated Tierney Sutton Band on Wednesday, Aug. 15. Performing the following days are alto saxophonist Grace Kelly, jazz drummer Roy Haynes, jazz pianist Ellis Marsalis, Tony Award-nominated vocalist Ann Hampton Callaway in a tribute to Ella Fitzgerald, and Pokey LaFarge and the South City Three with the sounds of blues, swing and ragtime. “Rockport Music is very excited to present five days of some of the best that jazz has to offer and we look forward to it being an annual event, and if it takes off, we will g
row it some more,” said Tony Beadle, the Rockport Music executive director.
This year the free Rockport Acoustic Festival on Sunday, Aug. 12 — now in its 33rd year
— will be held at the oceanfront bandstand at Back Beach from noon to 6 p.m. Because of construction at Millbrook Meadow, festival organizer David Cutler had to make a change of venue this year.
“Other than the site change, fans will find the features of the festival they’ve come to expect still intact. Like the tradition of blending those who have been there from the beginning like Kenny and Julie Cleveland, Brian O’Connor and Greg Dann, with first-time performers like 11-year-old classical guitarist Quentin Callewaert,” said Cutler.
There will be a barbecue to benefit New Year’s Rockport Eve, serving up lunch from the grill and special desserts.
There is a full line-up of folk, rock, blues, world music and more, featuring Soundcheck String Band, Eastern Standard, Brad Byrd, Alek Razdan and the A-Train Orchestra, Jake Pardee, Baze Band, The Dejas, Mari Martin and friends, and Frog Holler. The event is family friendly. In the event of rain, the festival will be at the Community House at 58 Broadway.
The Manchester Summer Chamber Music music series presents its fourth season this month, starting Saturday with two events, followed by two more concerts over the next two weekends.
The first concert will be a free coffee hour serenade
at the new Grove Boutique and Cafe on Saturday, Aug. 11, from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. The second concert will be at Manchester-by-the-Book on Saturday, Aug. 11, at 8:30 p.m. The third concert will be a benefit at the home of Isabella and Stephen Bates on Aug. 17 at 7:30 p.m. and the final concert will be at the First Parish Chapel on Aug. 24.
The series was founded in 2009 by Manchester native Sage Cole and Andover native Lorna Tsai.
“Our mission is to reach out to n
ew audiences for classical music while simultaneously embracing long-time chamber music fans,” said Cole, who noted that the artist roster includes “stunning” young musicians from around the world. “Whether you are a first-time concertgoer or a connoisseur, we invite you to join your neighbors in downtown Manchester to enjoy concerts of the highest caliber in intimate and inviting venues. “
Participating musicians have long resumes, with some winners of fellowships such as Carnegie Hall’s The Academy, prizes at competitions, and some hold teaching positions at institutions such as Yale, University of British C
olumbia, and the Longy School of Music of Bard College.
Gail McCarthy may be contacted at 978-283-7000 x3445 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Gloucester Blues Festival Saturday, Aug. 11, at Stage Fort Park, with Henri Smith Band from 11 to 11:45 a.m.; Dikki Du & The Zydeco Krewe, noon to 1 p.m.; Eddie Shaw & The Wolfgang, 1:15 to 2:25 p.m.; Lucky Peterson, 2:40 to 3:55 p.m.; Kenny Neal, 4:10 to 5:20 p.m.; Shemekia Copeland, 5:45 to 7 p.m. For more information, go to gloucesterbluesfestival.com. Rockport Music Jazz Festival Aug. 15 to 21 at Shalin Liu Performance Center. The festival opens with the Grammy Award-nominated Tierney Sutton Band on Aug. 15, followed by Grace Kelly on Aug. 16, Roy Haynes on Aug. 17, Ellis Marsalis on Aug. 18, Tony Award-nominated vocalist Ann Hampton Callaway on Aug. 19, and Pokey LaFarge on Aug. 21. For information and tickets, visit www.rockportmusic.org or call 978-546-7391. 33rd Rockport Acoustic Music Festival Sunday, Aug. 12, from noon to 6 p.m. at the Back Beach Bandstand near the oceanfront Legion Hall. In the event of rain, this free festival will be held at the Community House at 58 Broadway in Rockport. More information is available at www.rockportfestival.com. The lineup is Soundcheck String Band, Eastern Standard, Ken and Julie Cleveland, Quentin Callewaert, Brian O'Connor, Mari Martin and Friends, Frog Holler, The Dejas, Brad Byrd, Alek Razdan and the A-Train Orchestra, Baze Band with Greg Dann, and Jake Pardee and Gil Clark. For more information, go to www.rockportfestival.com. Manchester Summer Chamber Music Concerts Starts this Saturday and runs for three weeks. This Saturday features the free Classical Coffee Hour at the Grove Boutique and Cafe at 17D Beach St. from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m., and then Meet the Composer at Manchester-by-the-Book at 27 Union St. on Aug. 11 at 8:30 p.m. The event features new works by resident composer Caroline Shaw, as well as a repeat performance of her ode to Manchester, "Jacques Duran on the Beach." For information, go to www.manchestersummerchambermusic.org.