Great Kickoff To JazzFest 2014 in Sioux Falls!
A cloudy, breezy afternoon turned into an absolutely perfect weather night for day 1 of JazzFest 2014 in Yankton Trail Park Thursday night!
Two stages are set up for the weekend and Thursday, hosted a total of five bands for free (how many other cities anywhere in America could you have seen local soul and Americana on one stage, and blues & funk on another?)
The Brandon Sprague Blues Band from Deadwood, South Dakota got the music started at 6pm with their second appearance on the main stage at JazzFest (they played in 2012 as well)
Sprague and his four piece band did a solid mix of originals and covers during their 70 minute set to get the steadily growing crowd in the mood for a great opening night of music.
On the second stage, we featured two Sioux Falls bands that you've heard on the White Wall Sessions: Hometown Glow and Union Grove Pickers.
Hometown Glow is fronted by Greyson Schulz who stopped by our tent Thursday afternoon to perform an original song before they started the second stage entertainment with a mix of soul, blues, jazz, and many more influences to their set. You may have seen them last summer at the 1st annual Downtown RiverFest.
The Union Grove Pickers from Sioux Falls headlined the second stage opening night and helped draw a nice crowd with their blend of folk and Americana.
Meanwhile back on the main stage, the Kelly Richey Band from Cincinnati was cranking up the heat on a crowd that was building after work and had people up and moving!
Richey is one of the best female guitar players I've ever seen and one of the best guitar players period. She feeds off her fantastic rhythm section of Freekbass and Big Bamn through a smoking 90 minute set of orignals plus covers of a couple of her guitar heroes: Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton. Her set instantly had people up and dancing and drew them towards the stage.
The headliners on the main stage Thursday is an 11 piece funk band called "Here Come The Mummies" who you've probably heard on the Bob & Tom Show. The estimated crowd of 13,000+ didn't really seem to know how to react when the band, dressed as mummies, did a drum line march through the crowd on their way to the stage. Even during the first couple of songs, you could see a look on the crowds faces that they liked the music, but were still having a tough time processing a band dressed as mummies.
Once the show continued to build to a funky crescendo, the crowd started to eat it up with a big spoon with many picking the Mummies as their favorite from opening night!
Friday is shaping up to be another great day in the park with a high around 80 and enough of a breeze to keep the bugs away. Gates open at 4pm with music starting at 6 on both stages. Tonight's headliner, courtesy of Midcontinent Communications, is George Thorogood & The Destroyers on their 40th anniversary at 10pm.