York County’s 10th annual Blues & Jazz Festival, Oct. 2-4, kicks off at Baxter Village in Fort Mill and heads to Old Town Rock Hill for a restaurant crawl where festival-goers can enjoy live music at restaurants and venues throughout the night.
The final day focuses on bringing the music and culture of blues and jazz music to the Community Performance Center with an afternoon performance by the Mountain Marionettes, and an evening concert with Scott Ainslie. The event is produced by Bobby Plair Jr.
The schedule includes:
• The free kickoff is outdoors at Baxter Village, starting at 7 p.m. Oct. 2. It includes music by Dante Lewis and J’Michael Peeples, known as the The Bad Boys of Smooth Jazz.
Lewis is a powerful saxophonist from Columbia. He has been featured in the Columbia Metropolitan Magazine and at the Rowan Arts Festival. Peeples who draws inspiration from his grandmother, a gospel and blues singer, plays a mix of funk, jazz, blues and R&B on guitar.
• Old Town Restaurant Crawl, 7-11 p.m. Oct. 3. Tickets, $10, can be purchased in advance or the night of the event at the Center for the Arts or Old Town Market.
Gabriel Bello will perform at Amélie’s, 157 E. Main St. His self-titled 2011 debut occupied the No. 1 spot on the Billboard Smooth Jazz Charts for 11 weeks and unseated Michael Buble’ from the No. 1 spot on the Billboard Jazz Charts.
Leslie & Friends will play at the City Club of Rock Hill, 140 E. Main St. The group’s signature clear and sultry tones, expansive range and expressive delivery defy categorization.
The Courtroom at the Gettys will feature Bristo Blue with Spiral Eyes and The Weekends Band at 201 E. Main St. Bristo Blue brings his high energy style of blues influenced rock and roll to back to the festival.
Thel Petty, self-taught as a teenager, will perform at Five & Dine, 135 E. Main St. Petty played rock and R&B in the late 1970s and ’80s. His musical interest soon turned to jazz, and he has become an in-demand jazz player recognized as an outstanding soloist by many Charlotte-area musicians.
Brad Bailey brings his own mix of bluegrass flavored funk and swing to Jimmy John’s, 147 E. Main St.
Plair takes the stage at McHale’s Irish Pub, 122 E. Main St. Led by B.S. Plair, a former public school music instructor who spent more than 30 years teaching and performing, Plair is a family affair. Bobby Jr. began performing with his dad at age 10, playing trumpet, and son Victor joined the group at about age 9, playing trombone. Vocalist Wade Witherspoon completes the group. Plair has performed at clubs and colleges across the Southeast, opening for such artists as Lionel Richie and the Commodores, Mother’s Finest, Kool and the Gang and The Ellington Orchestra.
Millstone Pizza + Taphouse at 121 Caldwell St. will feature Take III, fresh off of their smashing performance at the Prohibition Party. Take III features the musical stylings of Frank Pullano on keyboard, Danny Turner on guitar and Brian Hipp on sax.
Chad Lawson, an award-winning pianist and composer, will perform at Thi’s on Main, 210 E. Main St. Lawson has released seven critically acclaimed albums, working with renowned musicians and producers.
• The Mountain Marionettes’ production Jazzy Strings takes the stage at 2 p.m. Oct. 4 at the Community Performance Center, 249 E. Main St. Jazzy Strings also is part of the Three x Three Performing Arts Series and Family Outings Series. Jazzy Strings brings the music of the early 20th century to life with puppetry and music. Tickets, $5.
• Scott Ainslie is a traditional acoustic blues singer, guitarist, historian and songwriter, will close out the festival at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 4 at the Community Performance Center. With personal roots in the civil rights era and a great affection for cross-cultural exchange, he pays tribute to blues legend Robert Johnson. Tickets are $20, general admission; $14 ACYC members.
All tickets are available at the York County Arts Council, 121 E. Main St., Rock Hill. Call 803-328-2787 or go to yorkcountyarts.org.