THE EVERGREEN JAZZ FESTIVAL MISSION:
To explore and preserve, through education and live performances, the musical heritage of traditional jazz, a unique American art form, to be performed by the finest Colorado, national and international musicians in distinctive venues in Evergreen, Colorado.
The Evergreen Jazz Festival began as a volunteer committee operating under the oversight of Our Musical Heritage, a non-profit foundation of the Denver Musicians' Association. The Evergreen Jazz Festival was conceived and founded by Sterling Nelson, who also recruited the volunteers and provided the financial underpinning that made possible the first festival in 2001.
The first festival featured nine groups, including four out-of-state jazz bands, two local jazz bands, a local quartet and an out-of-state duet for the main three-day festival. From Dixieland and swing to ragtime and blues, to a variety of music that was popular in the first half of the twentieth century, the festival's 70 hours of music honored our musical heritage.
The audience came from Evergreen, but the festival also drew from the Denver area and nationally. Approximately four hundred persons attended--a good start but more were needed to provide enough revenue to justify future festivals.
In the fall of 2001, it was decided to postpone the next festival until July 2003. A Board of Directors was formed and by July 2002 we had a set of Articles of Incorporation and By Laws. We applied for and received 501 ( c ) (3) tax status. We received our first grant. We made a major commitment to marketing the festival and we found fifty volunteers to produce the festival.
In 2021 we would have been celebrating our 20th Annual Festival but with the cancellation in 2020 it will technically be number 19. We continue to entertain about 800 patrons at five great venues in Evergreen, Colorado the last weekend of July every year. Last year we had 13 different bands from around the country, including two student bands. Over time we added an educational element with a committee that organizes events that satisfy our Mission. This includes school visits, a music clinic the day before the Festival with some of our professional band musicians giving one on one instruction to intermediate and above music students of any age and a two hour free education session to kick off the Festival on a traditional jazz or dance topic.
"Just like your parents' backyard if your parents had been hip enough to hire a hot band. The Holland Coots Jazz Quintet has a ball at the Evergreen Jazz Festival" Michael Steinman from Jazz Lives
"This is the best jazz festival anywhere!" Bob Lynn, Mississippi Rag
"This is our 4th year and I keep seeing the improvements. A great mix of bands and such talent! Keep it going!" A ticket buyer
"One of the defining events of the mountain communities." the late Brad Bradbury, publisher of Evergreen Newspapers
"To the Independence Hall Jazz Band, the Evergreen Jazz Festival is a hidden treasure. We perform in concert and for festivals all over the country, but Evergreen is at the top of the list....We love the diversity of the venues. The sound is always good, and attendance is excellent in each one. Within them the listener can count on hearing the finest bands and musicians out there today and with little repetitiveness of style. Doug Finke, leader