UPDATE: Clearwater Jazz Holiday to charge for admission; Avett Brothers, Bonnie Raitt lead 2012 lineup
Your guess is as good as ours as to how the Avett Brothers and Bonnie Raitt can be classified as "jazz." But most music fans won't complain about their inclusion in this year's Clearwater Jazz Holiday.
But charging for tickets? Organizers might hear some complaints about that.
The 33rd annual Jazz Holiday has announced the first few acts for for this year's bill on Oct. 18-21, and they include the Avetts, one of the most popular folk/Americana/bluegrass groups around; and Raitt, the pop-blues singer behind songs like Something To Talk About. Diehard jazz devotees will probably balk at both acts, so perhaps as a make-good, the festival also announced a performance by Mindi Abair and Friends, including Jeff Golub and David Pack. Abair, a St. Pete native, is one of the best-known jazz saxophonists around.
Other artists will be announced soon, but for now, what are we to make of the headliners? Perhaps the Clearwater Jazz Holiday saw a bump last year from booking a young, crossover artist like Trombone Shorty as a headliner. Considering the Avett Brothers sold out Ruth Eckerd Hall during their last performance there, they should draw a big young crowd as well.
The other headline about this year's festival: For the first time, the festival won't be free (unless you're age 12 or under). Advance tickets are $10 per day, with multi-day discounts available, and reserved seats starting at $30. (Click here to buy tickets.)
This will come as a shock to longtime Jazz Holiday fans. The festival has always gotten by largely on grants, donors and corporate sponsors (including the Tampa Bay Times), and the free admission has helped draw crowds of up to 100,000. Just last fall, operations manager Michelle Gallagher told the Times that despite the still-woeful economy, "We're happy to still be able to present a free event."
Not anymore, it seems.
Will Hobson sussed out many more details about this year's Clearwater Jazz Holiday. Click here for the story.
-- Jay Cridlin, tbt*