Portland, OR–The Montavilla Neighborhood Association’s second annual Montavilla Jazz Festival (MJF 2015) was a smashing success on August 15 and 16. Attendees enjoyed two days of thrilling performances by the best of Portland’s creative jazz community, held within the comfortable theater space at Portland Metro Arts. The second-year event drew much larger crowds than in the previous year, reaching capacity on multiple occasions. The all-volunteer-run festival once again showed what’s possible when neighbors come together with purpose to put on a neighborhood event that supports art and enriches the community by raising money for the neighborhood schools’ music programs.
The best of Portland jazz. Thirteen bands whose prowess demonstrates the deep talent pool that is Portland’s creative jazz community performed over two days. Performers ranged from headliner Darrell Grant’s All 4 Naught––an exploration of current pop songs repurposed via the jazz process and stretched to their limits; to Montavilla resident and elder statesman of jazz David Friesen and his Circle 3 Trio; to pioneering jazz educator Alan Jones; to the pyrotechnic piano of NYC jazz scene veteran George Colligan; and the 12-piece Portland Jazz Composers’ Ensemble. All 13 bands were in top form. On the outdoor student stage, Portland’s up-and-coming young jazz talent entertained attendees enjoying food and beverage provided by local vendors.
The numbers: More than 650 persons attended over two days, and ticket sales more than doubled from last year. As a result, this year a portion of ticket revenue will seed the Montavilla Neighborhood Association’s newly-formed Montavilla Schools Music Fund, an effort to grow music education in Montavilla’s four public schools.
Before any tickets were sold, 56 businesses stepped forward to sponsor the event, donating more than $30,000 in money and in-kind goods and services. Of equal significance, more than 70 volunteers assisted in numerous and varied roles such as running the box office, selling artist merchandise, and serving as ushers, and stage managers.
Community building through jazz: Community building is at the heart of MJF 2015, evident by the large number of volunteers drawn from the Montavilla neighborhood, and by the fact that many sponsors are neighborhood businesses. In addition, MJF 2015 dedicated 20 festival passes for free distribution to low-income neighborhood residents to make the event accessible to all. Portland’s nationally-recognized neighborhood system, with support from Southeast Uplift and the City of Portland Office of Neighborhood Involvement, makes projects such as MJF 2015 possible.
Get involved and learn more: Montavilla Jazz Festival is seeking greater community involvement and help to plan and deliver a great MJF 2016. Interested parties can contact MJF to get involved!
For general information, please visit: montavillajazzfest.com.
To schedule interviews or speak to festival organizers, please contact:
Montavilla Jazz Festival is a project of the Montavilla Neighborhood Association, and is fiscally sponsored by SE Uplift, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and coalition of 20 Portland neighborhoods.