An afternoon of music

Hundreds show up for fourth annual Homecoming Jazz and Blues Festival

IDLEWILD — Soulful blues and jazz music, the lingering smell of barbecue and tons of dancing and singing were the perfect ingredients for a day of fun, friends and family.

Whether they were cherished favorites from Stevie Wonder and B.B. King or original tunes from the bands on stage, people brought lawn chairs, sat at picnic tables or crowded the dance area at John Meeks Park for the fourth annual Homecoming Jazz and Blues Festival on Saturday in Idlewild.

Joining others from across the state and country, Flint residents Marilyn Leverette and Duane Walker spent three hours on a bus to converge on the small Lake County community for 10 hours of blues and jazz music. Leverette heard about the musical legacy of Idlewild and wanted to make the trip to Saturday’s festival.

“I’m really waiting to hear some blues,” she said with a smile. “I wanted to come here and see this and have a good time.”

Leverette and Walker joined a park full of young and old in listening to performers Mary Rademacher, the Dexter Sims Trio, Craig Hunnicutt and Hot Point, the Chris Kjorness Trio, Freddie G, the Chicago Groove Dynasty Band and Paul “Moz” Mosby from WDIV FM radio.

“We were at another jazz event and heard about this and had to get tickets,” Walker explained. “I’m here really for the jazz music.”

The two were happy to see such an accommodating community after such a long bus trip.

“I’m really enjoying this,” Walker added. “There are a lot of friendly people and it’s a wonderful atmosphere here.”

Lansing resident Bill Higgins was invited to the festival by his friend, Jesse, of Bitely.

“This is the first time I’ve gone to a festival or been up here for something this,” Higgins said, as he had just set up his lawn chair and sat down. “It’s pretty nice with everyone here.”

Music will once again be echoing throughout Idlewild on Saturday, Aug. 13, as the second Idlewild Heritage Music Festival takes place on Williams Island. Performers for the event include Ray Parker Jr., Michael Henderson and D Train, Debonair Casanova, Jeri Wade, Sarge the Dame and Bedrock and comedian Mike Bonner.

For more information about the Idlewild Heritage Music Festival, call (248) 773-7858.