BeanTown Festival Draws 70,000


  Singer Nona Hendryx works the large crowd on the Target stage on September 25.
  Photo by Phil Farnsworth
  From the left: Drummer Alex Acu?a, keyboardist Jetro Da Silva, bassist Abraham Laboriel and vocalist Rhiannon take their bows after a dynamic set of jazz and world music.
  Photo by Kelly Davidson

More than 70,000 music lovers flocked to Boston's South End for the grand finale of the 10th annual Berklee BeanTown Jazz Festival. Following 10 days of performances at notable jazz hot spots across the hub, including the Berklee Performance Center. Crowds also lined six blocks of Columbus Avenue for a day of free music, street vendors selling food from across the globe, and kids' activities to celebrate the music of New Orleans five years after hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

On September 15, guitarist Kurt Rosenwinkel and &Orquestra Jazz de Matosinhos opened the festival at the Berklee Performance Center (BPC). On successive nights, the Bad Plus, Paula Cole, Spajazzy, Walkin' Up Hip Street, and the Ayn Inserto Jazz Orchestra took the BPC stage. Other acts performed at Wally's Cafe, Scullers Jazz Club, and the Regattabar.

The high point of the festival was a full day of outdoor music on Columbus Avenue in Roxbury on Saturday, September 25. Festival goers braved the unseasonably hot sun to groove to live music from 16 artists, including chanteuse Nona Hendryx, bassist Abraham Laboriel Sr., New Orleans-based Mardi Gras performers the Wild Magnolias, the Berklee Global Jazz Institute, Cajun fusion band the Boogaloo Swamis, Berklee Percussion Professor and vibraphonist Victor Mendoza, and Berklee Voice Professor and vocalist Gabrielle Goodman.

Boston's largest and most popular festival attracted the attention of Boston-area press such as the Boston Globe and the Boston Herald, as well as Governor Deval Patrick. The governor joined President Roger Brown on stage to address the crowd and praise the festival and the family-friendly community spirit it provides year after year. The only complaint from the crowd? The 6:00 P.M. end time is too early.