IMG_7555-1Words & Photos by Cheats (above Big Sam’s Funky Nation)

Fans poured into RVA from all over the east coast this weekend to attend the 2013 Richmond Jazz Festival. This year’s festival featured several Grammy award winning musicians, headlined by an electric performance from Jill Scott and a soulful performance given by Michael McDonald to close out the weekend at Maymont Park.

Thanks to the great team at Johnson Inc. S/O to Ken Johnson, Torrence Hampton, Jasmine Roberts – and my girl (who had me dying with laughter all weekend) Maressa Dawn – for the opportunity to attend and photograph what is clearly a growing enterprise of success.

IMG_7923-1Terence Blanchard played on the Virginia is for Lovers Stage on Sunday

Despite a Saturday afternoon thunderstorm that temporarily cleared the park, the organizers kept the music lovers safe and festival operating smooth. It’s important to note that the Jazz Festival is not just about the amazing music, it is a festival operating at the highest level in retail and food. Homegrown eatery Croaker’s Spot is always a fan favorite with their fried fish dinners but there was variety of different types of food and beer and wine vendors operating at the festival. The combinations of activities really made the festival special on all levels.

Another great aspect about the Richmond  Jazz Fest is the access fans have to their favorite musicians. Just about every artist at this year’s festival visited the media tent,met with fans, signed autographs and took pictures.

IMG_7623-1Fans had a great time at the 2013 Jazz Festival

IMG_7833-1Jilly from Philly (Jill Scott) headlined night 1 on the Virginia is for Lovers Stage

Who were my favorite performances of the festival? Of course, I’m not just going to name one – here is my list of the best of the best: Jill Scott is amazing and can do no wrong. A very fitting headliner, she did an amazing job. Jill looked and sounded amazing. The Wailers headlined Sunday night on the Dominion Stage and they were fantastic. Keeping reggae music alive and holding down the spirit of the late Bob Marley, they had the massive crowd skanking to classic Wailers music. Michael McDonald has a ton of hits and he played them with spirit and bravado. He was fantastic. I honestly forgot how many great songs McDonald has in his catalog, from his time with the Doobie Brothers to the Motown remakes – his was great.

IMG_8239-1Michael McDonald has hits for days

The surprise of the festival was the three-time Grammy nominated band from Cuba Tiempo Libre. Wow! They had the Virginia is for Lovers stage on fire Sunday. Their performance was so high energy that the crowd even broke out into a conga line. It was one of my favorite performances of the festival.

IMG_8034-1Tiempo Libre worked the crowd into an uproar

There were so many more memorable performances: Dr. John, Big Sam’s Funky Nation, Robert Glasper, Dee Dee Bridgewater – I honestly can’t name them all – but I do have photos. For all of my photos from the 2013 Richmond Jazz Festival – click HERE and follow The Cheats Movement Blog on Facebook. I will be uploading more photos only on my The Cheats Movement Facebook Page. WE SEE IT

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