WOMEN IN JAZZ JAM FESTIVAL is back!
We must continue to lift each other up. When we do, the quality of life for everyone improves.
As an artist you are always learning. And After years of performing and studying jazz, Kelle Jolly came to the conclusion that the contributions of women are often left out of the story jazz.
We all know Louis Armstrong, but maybe only a few are aware that is wife Lil Hardin Armstrong was an accomplished pianist who encouraged him to work harder. He become the star the world fell in love with. Big band fans are familiar with Count Basie and Woody Herman bands but what about the Sweethearts of Rhythm, an all girl, multi racial big band of the 1940’s?
Kelle began to think about how this trend was affecting women in her own community. Who would lift up these women?
The idea for the Women in Jazz Jam Festival was born.
With no budget and a mighty vision, Kelle created a Facebook event with a date set in March, Women’s History Month. That Facebook event sparked the curiosity of many. She began to meet with supporters, many of whom were leaders in their organizations and businesses. A fundraising campaign was started. A women led band was assembled. Regional artists like Christina Watson and Dara Tucker… Venus the all girl band, were invited to perform.
Women artists from all around this region came to Knoxville, TN to collaborate, fellowship and showcase their talents. Attendance at the Knoxville Museum of Arts on the first night of the festival exceeded expectations with the biggest crowd in 10 years!
Audiences left every night of the festival feeling like they had experienced something unforgettable.
So many friendships have grown from this experience. Paths to other performance opportunities have been made.
Overwhelmed is the best word to describe the feeling of planning a festival for the first time and having so many women sign up to play, volunteer, design, market, and plan together. The process felt organic and natural. And from it grew a network of women in jazz who support each other in so many ways. Obviously the participants came away feeling inspired, but so were the men who played and volunteered. Some men made remarks like, “We needed to see that!”
The next Women in Jazz Jam Festival is March 10-12. #Don’t leave the women behind!
$10,000 is our goal!
We appreciate you and remember, if you don’t support we don’t exist.
Sharing this campaign with family and friends gives us more visibility. It also inspires those who are looking for a way to participate in making art . That helps so much. Thank you!