VF Outlet Berks Jazz Fest Announces Lineup

Chris Botti
Cyrus Chestnut

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It began as a simple and intimate weekend festival 20 years ago. The Annual VF Outlet Berks Jazz Fest is celebrating its 20th anniversary next year, with a recently released lineup of jazz, blues, and contemporary acts. The growing music festival now spans 10 days, from March 19-28, 2010.

Presented by the Berks Arts Council, the fest promises more than 130 events at various venues, clubs and restaurants throughout Reading and Berks County, Pa.

To sweeten the event for longtime attendees, several of the artists who performed during the first fest in 1991 will be returning this year. Returning performers include Wynton Marsalis with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, the Poncho Sanchez Latin Jazz Band, and Turtle Island Quartet with special guest Cyrus Chestnut.

Some of the more hyped performances this year include Chris Botti at the Reading Eagle Theater and Poncho Sanchez at the Crowne Plaza Reading, both on Friday, March 19; and Keiko Matsui on Saturday, March 27 at the Miller Center of the Arts.

Unique ensemble shows presenting this year are the Music of Grover Washington Jr. featuring Jason Miles, Gerald Albright, Walter Beasley, Chante Moore, Randy Brecker, Jeff Golub, Ada Rovatti, Buddy Williams, Ralph MacDonald and Neal Jason.

The U.S. Air Force Satellite Jazz Ensemble with opening act Berks High School All-Star Jazz Band, and Betty Carter’s Jazz Ahead Concert with opening act Berks High School All-Star Chorus, will both be giving free concerts, on March 23 and 28, respectively.

Tickets for individual concerts go on Sale Dec. 5 at 10 a.m. Tickets can be purchased in person at the Sovereign Center box office in Reading, or online at Berks Jazz Fest or Ticketmaster. Admission prices vary between shows.

For additional artist information and a complete schedule of concerts, visit Berks Jazz Fest. For more information on the Berks Arts Council, a nonprofit arts organization dedicated to promoting the arts in Greater Reading, visit Berks Arts Council.

In Addition to Jazz Fest, the Berks Arts Council presents the Bandshell Concert Series, Greater Reading Film Festival, the Pagoda Awards, Pennsylvania Partners in the Arts Re-Granting Program and Artists Services.