The Catalina Island JazzTrax Festivals provides the perfect mix of elegance, the serenity of nature’s awesome beauty and the magic of music in a seaside island cove.
Each of the two festival weekends kick off with a Thursday night “Unplugged Under the Stars” concert on the sand at Descanso Beach. The main festival is held inside this historic Catalina Casino Ballroom, Friday-Sunday.
Built in 1929, the circular, 12-story high Casino perched at the edge of Avalon Bay is Catalina Island’s most recognizable landmark. However, the Casino is not a gambling facility. The name was derived from the Italian word meaning “a gathering place.” The building houses a movie theatre, museum and the elegant ballroom, which played host to dozens of big bands in the 1930s and ’40s.
The recently restored ballroom retains its original exquisite style: a lavish medley of rose-hued walls, art deco decor, an arching 50-foot ceiling with five Tiffany chandeliers, an elevated stage and a vintage, full-service bar. The outdoor balcony encircles the ballroom and overlooks Avalon Bay and Descanso Beach.
The final weekend of the 28th Annual Catalina Island JazzTrax Festival is happening Thursday-Sunday. Here is the lineup:
Thursday, Oct. 16: Peter White (Unplugged Under the Stars at Descanso Beach), 7:30 p.m.
Friday, Oct. 17: The Jennifer Keith Quintet, 7 p.m.; Generation Next featuring Nicholas Cole, Lin Rountree and Lebron, 9 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 18: Vincent Ingala, noon; Dirty Dozen Brass Band, 2 p.m.; Josh Vietti, 7 p.m.; David Sanborn, 9 p.m. After-party at Descanso Beach featuring DJ Jonathan Phillips, 10:45 p.m. (free admission)
Sunday, Oct. 19: DOTSERO, noon; Warren Hill, 2 p.m.; Greg Manning, 7 p.m.; Dave Koz, 9 p.m.
During intermission, festivalgoers often perch themselves on the balcony and admire boaters basking in the bay, scuba divers suiting up for spectacular underwater experiences, snorkelers flapping their fins through the waters’ surface and tourists taking it all in from the ground.
In addition to the Catalina Island JazzTrax Festival, the Casino Ballroom is available for private functions, weddings and special events.
For more information about the 28th Annual Catalina Island JazzTrax Festival, check out the current issue of Smooth Jazz News, or visit www.jazztrax.com.