Jazz in the Parks marks its 26th year

CARLSBAD — It’s that time of year again when the city of Carlsbad’s Cultural Arts Office and the Carlsbad Friends of the Arts join forces to put on its summer series, TGIF Jazz in the Parks. Marking its 26th year, those in charge promise their free concerts in the weeks ahead will deliver a memorable musical summer.
Linda Joyce, publicity chairperson for the nonprofit Carlsbad Friends of the Arts, said what makes their TGIF summer series so unique is its overall size and topnotch musicians.
“Each concert draws in 3,000 to 4,000 people,” Joyce said. “Everyone is upbeat and it’s just fun.”
What raises the experience to another level is its immense dance floor. Joyce describes the scene as infectious — from young couples, to seniors, to families, everyone is having a great time.
“I certainly believe TGIF is the highest quality community free concert series in the county,” said Colleen Finnegan, community arts coordinator at the city of Carlsbad. “It’s a concentrated event that focuses on the music and involves our community.”
Finnegan is quick to point out that the support it gets from their city colleagues and that of the Carlsbad Friends of the Arts is incredible.
The opportunity drawings championed by the Carlsbad Friends of the Arts remains a huge part of the funding for this free summer venue. Without them, it probably wouldn’t happen.
“They (Carlsbad Friends of the Arts) are literally volunteering to plunge out into the crowds and wave a bunch of tickets and interact with people for the first half of the concert,” Finnegan said. “They are serving the needs of TGIF.”
Opportunity drawings range from items such as local business prizes and gift certificates, Alaska Airlines tickets, and more.
Each concert has 10 opportunity drawings. But people are asked to save their non-winning tickets, because at the last concert there is a second drawing, which includes them for more possible wins.
Although TGIF began as an American jazz event, over the years, different music styles have branched off from it. In addition to jazz, other concerts showcase blues, soul, reggae, New Orleans funk and much more.
“The quality of what we present on stage is equal to the expectations of this community after 26 years,” Finnegan said. People come from all of North County and beyond to take part in it.
Although the concerts start at 6 p.m., many claim their spot earlier in the day. Both Finnegan and Joyce agree that the most attention grabbing part of the event are the elaborate picnics people set up. Oftentimes linen covered tables, floral arrangements, and scrumptious savories are spotted.
“It’s about the music, dancing, and picnic — and oh boy, do they picnic,” Finnegan said.
But for those who don’t, Boy Scout Troop 745 is on hand running a hot dog and snack stand. And the Java Break Express Coffee Truck is there to serve up specialty coffees and edibles.
Many concertgoers have attended TGIF for years — it’s become a community staple. Finnegan said they have enjoyed the opportunity to spoil everyone with such great concerts and have received such positive feedback from it all.
“We have been supported by a group of Carlsbad residents who believe in arts and culture is a part of everyday life,” said Finnegan.
For more TGIF concert and volunteer opportunity information, call (760) 434-2920.

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