Two sorts of people seemed to dominate Thursday's opening night of the 34th annual Clearwater Jazz Holiday: regulars who come every year, and those who had never been before. The newbies showed up for Thursday night's headliner, the long-running rock band Chicago, who were proof of the festival's recent shift away from pure jazz and toward funk, alt-country and other more mainstream genres.
"They should just call it Clearwater Music Holiday if they're not going to bring back the jazz," said Kathy Dalpiaz of Belleair Beach, who has attended the festival for 22 years. "And it used to be free. We would come two or three times a weekend. This year, tonight's the only night we're coming."
"Then again," said her husband Nick, "where else can you go see Chicago for 10 bucks?"
For Mike Brassfield's full story about the Clearwater Jazz Holiday, click here. The Clearwater Jazz Holiday continues through Sunday.