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For the Love of Jazz and Parks

August 10, 2017

2015 Big Rock Committee


Photo of 2015 Big Rock Committee. Patty Bailey, John Chamberlain, Jane Chamberlain, Keith Clements, Sally Connelly, John Turner, Kathleen Reno, Tom Payette, Jim Kays, Jeannette Kays, Muriel Handmaker, Adam Fuller, Jerry Brown and Jeremy Milman. 


Seventeen years ago, a group of community members embarked on a journey to create an event that would gather friends, family and neighbors. It’s now fondly known as Big Rock Jazz and Blues Fest.

The first ensemble was selected when Jazz aficionados Phil and Patty Bailey were hosting friends including Mike Tracy, of U of L Jazz Studies. Tracy was looking for performance experience for his students so he offered to bring them to play. Later in 2008, Blues was introduced to the Fest with Stray Cat Blues Band to offer more variety.

Over the years the group–now close friends—have planned the Fest not just to bring people into the parks to listen to music but also to raise funds for enhancing the Big Rock area of Cherokee Park. Kathleen Reno, John Chamberlain, Sally Connelly and John Turner are part of the original committee and still serve on it today. This great group has worked hard to acquire sponsors, bring in top acts, promote the event and arrange for trolley’s to help with parking–and they always insist on customer-made t-shirts to commemorate the occasion.
Olmsted Parks Conservancy greatly appreciates this hard working committee and its commitment to bring music to the lovely Cherokee Park. Each of the members provides their expertise to make the annual event a success.

The 2017 Big Rock Jazz & Blues Fest will be held on October 8, 2017. Learn more on our Facebook page.