SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – The Highland Jazz and Blues Festival held its 19th annual event at Columbia Park. The live music, vendors, food, and prizes proved that there was nowhere else to be this weekend.
“The band, the music is fantastic. I mean, I don’t remember them having singers last year. But this year there’s people singing with the band. And then we had Buddy up there singing, and he’s fantastic too. I hope one day maybe I can be out there,” said Shreveport resident Rome Brown.
Nine different artist groups performed on both the pavilion and gazebo stage, including Shreveport Regional Jazz Ensemble, Twang Darkly, Full On Pocket, and J and the Caseways.
Volunteer coordinator Katrina Sproles said that a volunteer board of ten to twelve people hosts events throughout the year to be able to get the local artists and put on the festival for free.
The annual event is also locally grant-funded by the arts community and many sponsors or “friends of the festival.”
“We like to bring in jazz and blues artists for our community to know what that sounds like and keep it alive and well here,” said Sproles.
There is plenty to see onstage, but right by the entrance are more than 60 vendors that visitors are encouraged to explore. The tents have food, drinks, subscription services, non-profit organizations, art, and prizes.
Hannah Brown, owner of Creatithannah, a henna business, said that she made the most money when she came to the event last year. This year is no different.
“This year is even better. There’re so many people, there’s so much good music. There’s a reason that it’s been around for nineteen years. I love it. I’m going to be here every year that they allow me to,” said Hannah Brown.
Her mother, Rome Brown, came to support her daughter and do temporary tattoos on the children too young for henna. Rome Brown also was happy to come to the event because it reminded her of her childhood.
“You know I’m from the age group, the baby boomers, yes that’s what we’re called, when we were out there with the hippies in the park with the bubbles, the love and free, so it had that kind of feel for me,” said Rome Brown.
Rome Brown said that with the current temperatures and all the festivities, she was happy to be out of the house with a soundtrack of jazz and blues.
“You know I could be at home watching television, sitting in there isolated by myself. Well, why would I choose to do that when I can come outside in the fresh air with lots of people and enjoy myself and enjoy this weather while we have it.”