The Southern Tier’s Premier Jazz Festival Returns to the Live Stage

by Kevin Cummings

The Ferrario Elmira Jazz Festival is back live this summer on August 20-21 for its tenth anniversary. Held virtually last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the festival featured musicians performing live from the safety of their own homes. This year, all but one of last year’s musical guests will appear in person, each bringing his or her own personal style of contemporary jazz to a live setting.

Friday evening’s concert will take place at the historic Clemens Center in downtown Elmira. The show begins at 6:00 p.m. with local favorites Top Shelf performing classic pop and light jazz. The headliner for the evening is Adam Hawley (, a chart-topping guitarist with several number one hits.

The Saturday event will be held at Thorne Street Park in nearby Horseheads. Keyboardist Marcus Johnson (, a perennial favorite who has appeared each year since the festival’s inception, will open the show at noon. Besides being a musician, he is also an entrepreneur and author of a motivational book. Althea Rene ( then brings her flute stylings to the stage. Her song “In the Flow” was the first flute-based single to reach number one on the Billboard and Smooth Jazz charts. Saturday’s show ends with headliner Paul Brown (, a guitarist, studio engineer and two-time Grammy Award winning producer.

Along with Saturday’s music will be a raffle and a chance to support vendors selling a variety of food and other goods, including wine from Wagner Vineyards. Attendees need to bring lawn chairs or blankets as seating is not provided. Personal food and beverages are allowed on the grounds; alcohol can only be consumed by those age 21 and over and cannot be in a glass container. As this is an outdoor event, sunscreen and umbrellas are encouraged as it is summer and the weather can be unpredictable.

The Ferrario Elmira Jazz Festival is the largest fundraiser for the Economic Opportunity Program, Inc. of Chemung and Schuyler Counties (EOP). EOP is in its 56th year of operation, serving over 5,000 people annually through literacy training, adult education, Head Start, job placement, and many other programs. Anita Lewis, EOP Chief Development Officer, emphasizes the importance of the event. “The festival continues to grow each year, making it possible to attract name talent, and that is good for Elmira,” says Lewis. “Also, the public’s support for the festival gives us the opportunity to sustain, create and expand our programs and services.”

Ticket prices are: Friday - $50, Saturday - $40, Saturday Student - $20 (children 12 and under are admitted free), and can be purchased in advance or at the event. Buy tickets for both days and receive a $10 discount. Visit and click on the ticket link, or check for more information. You can also contact Anita Lewis at 607-734-6174 x232 or by email at

1 Comment

  • Abdur Ra'uf Nunnally says:

    Thank you for the festival. Hopefully Jazz will continue to be appreciated in the southern tier.

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