39th street set to jazz up weekend with new festival

click to enlarge Greg Jerome (Provided)
Greg Jerome

The organization that oversees one of Oklahoma City’s streets is throwing a family-friendly party to help revitalize a district that is rich in history but lacks mainstream recognition.

As metro districts like Midtown and the Plaza continue to gain popularity for their block parties and concerts, 39th Street seems to be left behind. It’s an oversight that 39th Street District Association President Craig Poos looks to rectify with 39th Street Jazzy Fest, an all-day music festival for the whole family that looks to reinvent and reinvigorate the area.

“Jazzy Fest is our effort to bring people that may not come down to 39th, just because they’re not interested in going to a gay bar or whatever it may be, and get them to see what we have done here and get some renewed interest from the city so we can work within the community,” Poos said.

Inspired by Norman’s Jazz in June celebration, Poos, along with creative partner Ginger McGovern, wanted a bill that runs the gamut of music, covering genres as diverse as jazz, hip- hop, rock and Americana.

click to enlarge Native Lights (Michael Cooper / Provided)
Michael Cooper / Provided
Native Lights

Jazzy Fest runs 11 a.m.-8 p.m. at at 2100 NW 39th Street and features music on two stages, as well as in a KidsZone area. The festival will have an emphasis on motorcycles and motorcycle culture, and there will be art and food vendors on hand.

Popular music acts, including Jabee, Native Lights and Gregory Jerome, also will perform. At KidsZone, Oklahoma Children’s Theatre and Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma will entertain and educate youth about the arts.

Poos believes that if the city and the public can get behind revitalization efforts, it could be the next big district, one that hearkens back to its Route 66 roots. It’s his hope that vacant buildings in the area soon will be filled with retail shops and restaurants.

It’s a sentiment that local hip-hop act Gregory Jerome supports. He selected the event as his first festival performance of 2015. In addition to performing on the main stage, he also agreed to take part in the KidsZone, where he plans share what he knows about hip-hop culture.

Poos hopes that encouragement for the area might even extend out into other districts and into the suburbs in order to build a strong support system that will keep the historic area thriving for years to come.

“I think it’s a great way to establish an area that’s not necessarily recognized as a family area or neighborhood,” Poos said. “This is just the place to start to kind of help and maybe become friends with 39th Street in support, maybe becoming members of it so that we have the vocal strength ... when we approach the city for improvements and the growth of the area.”

Print headline: Get jazzed; 39th Street Jazzy Fest strives to revitalize a popular district.

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