Niwot’s annual jazz festival is getting ready to kick off its sixth year of jazz music, food and fun, but this year also brings some changes.
Organizer Howard Treppeda, who also owns Treppeda’s Ristorante, has enjoyed bringing top jazz music to Niwot, and is excited about this year’s festival. Historically, the event has been held on a Friday night and Saturday in August; however, this year the event is scheduled for one day, on Saturday, September 17.
Treppeda said even though he’s been putting on this event for several years, he’s still experimenting with what works best. Due to expenses, he had to restructure the festival to make sure attendants still have a good time.
“[We’re] fine tuning Jazz on 2nd Ave so the sponsors and people who come are a little more comfortable, and it’s not as hectic,” Treppeda said.
Treppeda also said getting “volunteers all day and all night” isn’t easy.
“I think that for six years, for an event that only happens once a year at this caliber, it’s young,” Treppeda explained, “but there are a lot of changes in five years. We moved it to September because there’s so much competition in August these days.”
August is a hot month for many music festivals around the Front Range, including Niwot’s own concert series. By moving the jazz festival to September, Treppeda hopes to bring in people who are looking for good jazz music in a comfortable setting.
“We don’t need to have thousands of people,” he said of the event. “I would just like to have high caliber music with high caliber food, with people that really appreciate both.”
Treppeda also has ideas for future jazz festivals, including completely closing down Second Avenue and enhancing the education portion of the event.
“I want the people to be able to eat and watch a performance in the street, in downtown Niwot,” Treppeda said. “Then down at Whistle Stop [Park] have jazz education all day long… The kids could watch the pros play and vice versa, they’d go work with the kids.”
But for this year, Treppeda is happy to announce that event goers will recognize the musicians from past years, including the Niwot High School Jazz Band, which will open up the event this year.
“We’re bringing back musicians from previous years this year because there’s been such a personal connection with the artists and the town,” Treppeda said. “I figured this is a good year to try to bring everybody back together.”
Musicians will include Liquid Soul with special guest Jeff Coffin; Conjunto Colores salsa band; Don Grusin Quartet featuring Nelson Rangell, Bijoux Barbosa and Matt Houston; and Paul Warburton Trio featuring Paul Warburton, Steve Kovalcheck and Jim White.
“I want somebody to come here because of the content we’re presenting,” Treppeda said. “I just think Niwot’s a great town to have a nice event that’s not too crazy.”
Another big change for the festival this year is the introduction of tickets. Treppeda said the event just wasn’t sustainable being free, and in order for it to continue and progress, tickets need to be sold.
“I’m coming to the realization that to have jazz education, we have to have an event that’s sustainable,” he explained of the change. “Jazz on 2nd Ave, I think, can be sustainable with the help from donors, sponsors in-kind, and patrons that pay a low price for a ticket.”
People can purchase early bird tickets for $15 up until the day of the event. Tickets will be $20 on the day of the event and at the gates, which open at 1 p.m. Kids 12-years-old and under get in for free.
With the addition of tickets, Treppeda is expecting fewer people to attend but feels the intimate event will be just as good as past years.
“I think there will be less people than previous years, but the people that do come will be very comfortable and happy they did,” Treppeda said. “You can’t do a free event at this caliber unless you have a dream investor, and I don’t have a dream investor. I want people to come that want to be here, not just because it’s free.”
Treppeda explained that the changes he had to make were because the event kept growing and he needed to get back to what was most important, which is the jazz music.
“We just needed to restructure and reorganize because every year it just kept getting bigger and bigger, and things change,” he said. “Sometimes jazz can bring an older crowed, and I want to try to keep it young too.”
For those who attend this year’s event, Treppeda hopes they feel welcomed by the community of Niwot and experience the culture of jazz music. He doesn’t expect Jazz on 2nd Ave to go anywhere anytime soon.
“I hope people experience a sense of community,” Treppeda said. “When people come in, they get a feeling of community and culture, and a sense of being a part of something that’s going to stay for a long time.”
Jazz on 2nd Ave will run from 2-10 p.m. on Saturday, September 17. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit jazzon2ndave.com.