jazz-festBy Jeff Martin

When it comes to Ellicottville’s Jazz & Blues Weekend, the music speaks for itself.

Heather Snyder, spokesperson for the Ellicottville Chamber of Commerce, said the event, scheduled for July 26–28, is a bit different from other chamber events in that the chamber takes a background approach.

“It’s just about the music,” Snyder said.

Seven bands are expected to take the main stage on Monroe Street, which isn’t the typical location for many downtown centered events.

“Something like this will give some attention to Monroe Street,” Snyder said, adding that most festivals are on the main drag. “All the corners of the village should be recognized.”

In addition to the main stage on Monroe Street, other performances are scheduled in bars and cafes throughout the village, including the gazebo, Ellicottville Brewing Company, the Gin Mill, Balloons, the Silver Fox and others.

Main acts include B.D. Lenz, the John Troy Jazz Trio, Mick Hays Band, Mark Mazur and the Little Big Band.

An organizer for the event, who asked not to be identified because he wanted the focus to be on the musicians, said that throughout the years he’s seen an ebb and flow of interest in jazz and blues throughout the village.

“It goes through waves of popularity,” he said, adding that B.D. Lenz and the Mick Hays Band are premiere performers that will wow audiences and sustain the popularity that already exists.

The event actually begins Thursday night at 7 p.m. with a performance by The Lake Effect at the downtown gazebo, an area of town that promotes local bands on Thursdays throughout the summer. The Fred and Tuck band play the Gin Mill at 8 p.m.

Snyder said most of the acts are from Buffalo but others come from out of state. B.D. Lenz comes from New Jersey, which shows how Western New York falls in line with traveling acts between big cities like Cleveland and Chicago and New York City.

The event started several years ago, Snyder said, and was held in the spring, but spring in Western New York can be unpredictable. Scheduling it in the summer made sense, she said. Sandwiched between popular events like Fourth of July and the start of the county fair, the music festival is a great way to just sit back, stop talking and listen to music.

“It’s a mellow event that everyone who comes enjoys,” she said.