25th Annual Blues and Jazz Festival Wraps Up - Erie News Now | WICU & WSEE in Erie, PA

25th Annual Blues and Jazz Festival Wraps Up

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It's been 25 years of blues, jazz and art, drawing thousands to Frontier Park. 

"We early on developed certain aspects of the festival and decided we're not going to change that, that works, it's not broken, we're not going to fix it. So we have a limited number of vendors, keep the focus on the music, we keep it as friendly as possible," said John Vanco, Director for the Erie Art Museum.

This year, they changed things up, extending the festival from two days to three, although much of the first day was rained out.

Erie Art Museum director and festival founder, John Vanco, is retiring from the museum at the end of this month, but plans to put more of his focus onto the festival, including keeping it a minimum of three days.

"We'd like to look at multiple venues, elsewhere in the community, as well as this taking place," explained Vanco.

It's still unknown if the Erie Art Museum will have a role in the festival next year, Vanco said it's up to the next director.

Many supporters of the festival, including the legendary Mary Alice Brown, said she will be back to stay apart of it. She loves how Vanco continues to introduce new artists to the Erie community.

"He has everything now, it's not just blues and jazz, he's got rock, r&b, he's got country, he just puts in everything because that's art," said Brown.

The festival helps to expose the art and music culture to the public, especially the younger generation, which both Vanco and Brown say is extremely important for them to experience.

"It means that music is alive and well and there is a future. Because you see music is the key to life's spirit, I wish I made that quote, Stevie Wonder did," said Brown.

"That's how we learn to get along people, is to all be together, and something like music and art is the thing that can bring us together," said Vanco.

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