Hot and Cool

Winter Blues Jazz Festival brings warm sounds to Williamsburg.

Photo courtesy of Wendy C. Miller Photography

During the generally bleak post–New Year’s Eve concert lull, Williamsburg’s Winter Blues Jazz Festival hosts the genres’ top talent on four nights over the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend. The event brings vets and up-and-comers, hordes of music fans, and a palpable air of excitement to an array of cozy downtown venues for what is typically one of the best music spectacles in the city.

Now in its fifth year, the festival kicks off January 17 at Williamsburg Winery with a performance by Sidecar Social Club from Raleigh, North Carolina, and wraps January 20 with the Gospel Brunch, featuring singer Cora Harvey Armstrong & Friends, at the Williamsburg Lodge. Other live acts include the Forte Jazz Band, Slam Allen, Miss Melanie and the Valley Rats, and pianist Justin Kauflin, a protégé of composer and arranger Quincy Jones. More than 2,000 guests are expected to attend the four-day festival.

 “Each year, we switch up bands so it’s completely fresh,” says Jennifer Raines. Raines and her boyfriend, Steve Rose, the owner of Williamsburg Event Rentals, co-founded both the event and CultureFix, a nonprofit that produces music and culture events around Williamsburg. WinterBluesJazzFest.com


This article originally appeared in our February 2019 issue.

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