Members of the Brookfield village board on June 26 gave their blessing to a one-day “Jazz in the Park” event sponsored by the Brookfield Special Events Committee, one of several events this summer the village hopes will draw Brookfield residents in the wake of the board’s decision to cancel Brookfest.
The free jazz event is scheduled for Sunday, Sept. 17 and will run from roughly 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. in Kiwanis Park, located at Brookfield and Arden avenues. Originally, the event was envisioned as a jazz and art/collectibles event, but has been scaled back to music only and is being billed as a “Ravinia-type” affair, where concert goers will be encouraged to pack picnics and bring their own beer and wine.
“It’s become pretty simplified,” said Ian Tiele, a Special Events Committee member and moving force behind the Jazz in the Park event. “There was originally talk of doing a two-day thing, but that wasn’t viable this year in terms of time to organize it. If it’s successful, I could see it developing into a Brookfield Jazz Festival.”
That would suit Tiele just fine. As founder and president of the Brookfield Jazz Society, which celebrated its one-year anniversary in March, Tiele said he would like to recreate the “feel-good feeling” depicted in the film “Jazz on a Summer’s Day,” which immortalized the 1958 Newport Jazz Festival. Though he knows Brookfield could never duplicate that vibe, he’d like to emulate it.
“I want to recreate that kind of feel-good feeling,” Tiele said. “I’m a great believer in [the motto] if you make sure the musicians enjoy themselves, then the people in the audience are definitely going to enjoy themselves.”
Although Tiele said he has not booked the bands yet, he has been unofficially pitching the idea to musicians. Ideally, he said, he like to present a cross section of jazz styles, from traditional to big band to contemporary. Since last September, Tiele has been making Brookfield something of a destination for jazz musicians through live events sponsored by the Brookfield Jazz Society monthly at Irish Times.
“There’s been a lot of interest from a lot of bands,” Tiele said. “The problem is that there’s so much talent around it’s hard to choose. If we took everybody on, we’d have an eight-day festival.”
According to Arlene Rovner, the Brookfield Recreation department’s liaison to the Special Events Committee, the set up for the Jazz in the Park event will be similar to a Battle of the Bands held in May. While concert goers are asked to bring their own beer and wine, Rovner said that the event would include a couple of food vendors.
In all the event should cost the village less than $10,000 to host. The majority of the funds will go toward the four or five bands that will be booked. It’s unlikely that the event will receive much advertising outside of Brookfield, which is likely to keep the crowd at a manageable size.
“I think the village board wanted to bring in a low-key event, not one that would attract a lot of people from other areas,” Tiele said. “Attendance is not going to be a factor of whether it’s on again. Everyone I’ve talked to is very enthusiastic about the idea. I think it’ll be a great success.”