Free for starters – The festival officially opens Friday afternoon, but the fun begins Thursday night with two free community concerts. At 7:30 p.m., the Elkhart Municipal Band will be joined by the Dave Bennett Quartet on the Lerner Theatre stage. Down the street at 8 p.m., the 2015 EJF All-Stars will perform inside Krav, 526 S. Main St. No tickets are necessary.
Float on up – Davina and the Vagabonds will perform during the private sponsor party, 7 to 9:30 p.m. Thursday at a home along the St. Joseph River. While the ticket is exclusive, you can still see the show. Visitors are welcome to float up and watch from the river – the home is on the north side of East Jackson Boulevard, just east of Trinity United Methodist Church.
Education in EJF – The first Hoagy’s Workshop for students participating in school jazz bands concludes Thursday at North Side Middle School. About 65 middle and high school students participated in the two-day workshop, which includes mentoring by professional musicians.
Ready for Friday – People wanting to pick up passes and tickets at will call can begin doing so at 9 a.m. Friday in the Lerner Theatre lobby, 410 S. Main St. Friday’s first show will be on the free Civic Plaza stage at 3:30 p.m., featuring the Gene Knific Trio. An opening ceremony will follow at 5 p.m., featuring Mayor Dick Moore’s welcome and Janet Hines-Norris singing the National Anthem.
Get social – Festival goers can interact with the festival on Facebook (fb.com/elkhartjazzfestival), Twitter (@elkhartjazzfest) and Instagram (elkhartjazzfest). Tweets and messages will be promoted to the Monster Message board at Franklin and Main streets throughout the weekend.