By Tony Wittkowski | Reporter | MLive – Muskegon Chronicle
MUSKEGON, MI — The two-day Shoreline Jazz Festival kicked off on Saturday, Aug. 23 at Heritage Landing.
Thousands were in the makeshift orchestral seating, while a select few hundred paid extra for the reserved seating located in the front near the performers.
Ann Arbor resident Jerry Clayton, along with his wife, was among the spectators who were seated near the front.
The two had never been to any of the jazz festivals that took place in Muskegon prior to Shoreline’s and said they thought they would try their luck at Heritage Landing.
“The first two artists were great and we look forward to Tim Bowman,” Clayton said. “My wife has all the CDs, so we are familiar with all the music.”
After only two performers, Clayton said he and his wife have already talked about returning next year.
As a jazz enthusiast, Clayton said he jumps at the chance to attend any festival or concert that includes jazz.
“It’s a good opportunity to get away from the day-to-day grind that you have to do,” he said. “It’s a great way to end the summer, so we are really appreciative of the Muskegon community for putting this on.”
The couple had learned about the Shoreline Jazz Festival two weeks ago through an advertisement in a magazine and quickly made arrangements in their schedules.
Since Clayton saw his first jazz concert 30 years ago, he hasn’t looked back.
“At the time (of my first concert), my wife and I had actually just met,” Clayton said. “As I’ve gotten older, I have grown to appreciate jazz.”
Two hours into the festival, the guitars, saxophones and drums could be heard across the grounds, blending in one uniform sound that produced the smooth and often fast-paced jazz the spectators had come for.
Many came prepared with an array of umbrellas and lawn chairs. One of the avid listeners was Angela Flowers, who was seated under an enveloping umbrella that nearly doubled as a tent.
Flowers, who also traveled from the other side of the state, was there to enjoy every musician. This was evident by her ability to name off all the artists that were performing.
“We’ll be here for both days, but we’re not camping out, we didn’t rough it,” she said.
Under her Sportbrella, the Detroit resident admitted that she, too, was a first-timer for the Shoreline Jazz Festival. However, it wasn’t her first time traveling to hear some jazz.
“Oh, we attend a lot of other jazz festivals around the state,” Flowers said. “We average about five or six a year.”
(Author’s Note: This article was originally published on Aug. 23, 2014)