Blue Jay Jazz Festival comes back to Rim of the World for summer concert series

The King Brothers, featuring Lee on the left, and Sam, right, bring their unique brand of blues back to the Blue Jay Jazz Festival on Aug. 17 at SkyPark at Santa’s Village.
The King Brothers, featuring Lee on the left, and Sam, right, bring their unique brand of blues back to the Blue Jay Jazz Festival on Aug. 17 at SkyPark at Santa’s Village. COURTESY PHOTO
Adrianna Marie and her Groovecutters make its Blue Jay Jazz Festival debut on Aug. 24 at SkyPark at Santa’s Village.
Adrianna Marie and her Groovecutters make its Blue Jay Jazz Festival debut on Aug. 24 at SkyPark at Santa’s Village. COURTESY PHOTO

The iconic Blue Jay Jazz Festival, now in its 25th year, has made a landmark move in the San Bernardino Mountains.

The three-concert series is moving its 2017 summer series to SkyPark at Santa’s Village, announced the Blue Jay Jazz Foundation, producer of the annual event.

It’s almost like going home.

Heck, it IS like going home.

In addition to concert series in Blue Jay and Lake Arrowhead Village, in the early 2000’s the meadow adjacent to Santa’s Village was briefly the setting for some memorable jazz concerts amid the tall pines.

And like deja vu, this year the concert series happens again just off Rim of the World Highway (Highway 18) on Aug. 10, 17 and 24.

There’s nothing quite like jazz and blues under the stars in an idyllic forest setting.

• Heating up the night on Aug. 10 will be The King Brothers blues band, with Sam and Lee King.

• Greg Adams and East Bay Soul will follow on Aug. 17.

• Bringing the series to a grand finale will be headliner Adrianna Marie and her Groovecutters on Aug. 24, with the Rim of the World High School Jazz Band opening the evening.

The festival has become a cherished entertainment tradition for residents of the San Bernardino Mountain communities as well as music fans in the Inland Empire and Los Angeles and Orange counties.

During the nearly 20 years Santa’s Village was closed, the concert series’ home was the parking lot above the Rite-Aid in Blue Jay.

Chris Levister, Blue Jay Jazz Foundation president, said it was extremely gratifying to see the project come together.

“We are thrilled to return to SkyPark at Santa’s Village and be a part of its historic rebirth. This will not only increase access to live jazz, but raise awareness of the Foundation’s work on behalf of music education and nurturing future artists and audiences,” she said.

After closing in 1998, Santa’s Village was brought back to life as SkyPark at Santa’s Village in 2016, thanks to a massive renovation effort spearheaded by Bill and Michelle Johnson. Now open year-round, the park is attracting thousands of visitors to the mountain communities.

“SkyPark is thrilled to bring the Blue Jay Jazz Festival back to Santa’s Village,” said Michelle Johnson. “We have an incredible venue nestled in the trees that will complement the musical acts featured. We have lovingly restored the village area where guests can enjoy our eclectic shopping and great dining options.”

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Bill Johnson added, “Coming to the Santa’s Village Concerts in the Meadow was one of our family’s favorite things to do in the summer. It’s one of the reasons we fell in love with this special place. We hope that hosting this event in the park will help raise monies for the important programs the Foundation funds.”

For each event, the SkyPark restaurants will be serving food and beverages for concert guests. Those who choose to follow the festival tradition of bringing a picnic basket of their own food and drinks, will be able to do so.

Individual tickets may be purchased for $29 for ages 13 and older; and $19 for those 12 and younger.

Series tickets, with a single admission to all three concerts, are available for $59. Tables are available for $269, which includes admission and seating for eight guests and “concierge” table service.

Tickets will be available through the Blue Jay Jazz Festival website, www.bluejayjazz.com and Sky Park’s website, skyparksantasvillage.com.

On concert dates, gates will open at 5:30 p.m. and the concerts will begin at 6:30 p.m.

“We are very excited to be there and pleased to be working with the Johnsons,” Chris Levister said.

“We hope people will come back and fall in love again.”

Michel Nolan appears in The Sun on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. Reach her at mnolan@scng.com or on Twitter @MichelNolan.

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