ChazzFest: The Charleston Music & Heritage Festival will kick up some action at the Family Circle Tennis Center this Saturday with a terrific lineup of local and national music artists, who will perform on five music stages scattered across the grounds.
Funk veterans Kool & The Gang will take the big Stadium Stage and so will New Orleans jazz sax great Branford Marsalis and his quartet. The big stage will also host Americana rock band Son Volt, acclaimed Atlanta-based gospel singer Dottie Peoples, and "sacred pedal steel" group The Lee Boys. A special visual/musical tribute to jazz legend and S.C. native Dizzy Gillespie will be presented as well.
On the Michelob Club Court Stage, look for New Orleans funk/jam band Galactic, reggae vets Toots & The Maytals, Florida-based swamp/groove combo JJ Grey & Mofro, and (returning for a second year) New Orleans brass/funk ensemble Soul Rebels Brass Band.
Tucked back in the woods alongside the marsh on the SCBT stage, you'll hear pure beach music, Southern blues, and old-time spirituals by soul/beach music champs General Johnson & The Chairmen of the Board, shag greats The Embers, local blues singer/guitarist Davis Coen, and local vocal group Magnolia Singers, led by Ann Caldwell.
The grassy Roots Stage near the main entrance will hold Virginia bluegrass band The Seldom Scene, longtime local rock/groove quartet Uncle Mingo, an audience-interactive "drum circle" presented by Musicorp and the Remo drum company, and sizzling local soul/R&B group Quiana Parler & Friends.
"We brought in an eclectic mix of genres," says Riddick Lynch, one of the festival's organizers. "This year, I think we're presenting an even deeper and broader pool of talent. We've added a couple of genres that we didn't have last year — reggae and gospel — partly out of a more concerted effort to reach out to the local African-American community. We're broadening the scope with an eclectic mix with the idea of presenting something for everyone — young, old, black, white, and everything in between."
A newly-added Kids' Stage will feature two sets each from Gullah storyteller Aunt Pearlie-Sue (Anita Singleton-Prather, of Beaufort) and kazoo player Rick Hubbard (armed with enough free kazoos for all the kids in the audience) through the afternoon. There's also a play area.
The Heritage Artisans Expo showcases visual art and culinary demonstrations. Numerous regional artists and artisans will be set up all along the festival grounds, and the "Artisans Wharf" will display work and wares from a variety of artists and vendors.
Great cuisine is all around, too. Local chefs John Zucker from Cru Café, Marc Collins from Circa 1886, Kevin Johnson from Anson, Tyler Dudley of the Daniel Island Club, and Rena Prentis from Bulls Bay Golf Course will compete in a shrimp 'n' grits cook-off that starts at 10 a.m., judged by local food writer Holly Herrick and Mofro frontman JJ Grey.
A culinary stage will hold demonstrations in the early afternoon from food writer Sallie Ann Robinson, Fat Hen chef/owner Fred Neuville, and Chef John Besh from Restaurant August in New Orleans. A ChazzFest Drink contest between area bartenders was recently judged by a panel of experts, and Henry Fincke's winning ChazzJulep will be on sale all day.
ChazzFest tickets are available at all Ticketmaster outlets (www.ticketmaster.com) and by phone at (843) 554-6060. Check out the info booth online at www.chazzfest.com for information on all of the festival activities and features.
ChazzFest 2007 Ticket Info
Sat. Sept. 22 9 a.m.-10 p.m.
Family Circle Tennis Center 161 Seven Farms Dr., Daniel Island
$100 ($75 adv.) Box Level, Reserved Stadium Seating
$75 ($50 adv.) Tier Two, Reserved Stadium Seating
$50 ($35 adv.) General Admission
$10 Kids 6-12 ($5 adv.) Under 6 admitted free
Tickets are available at Ticketmaster (www.ticketmaster.com) outlets, including select Publix grocery stores; by phone at (843) 554-6060; at the Family Circle Tennis Center office weekdays from 9-5 p.m.; and the day of the festival beginning at 8 a.m.