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C-Street Jam

Live music is coming to Commercial Street. Michele Skalicky has the story.

Organizers of the C-Street Jam have announced the entertainment line-up for this year's event. Monte Lorts is a talent buyer for the Greater Ozarks Blues Festival and a promoter for the Blues Down Under Series, and he helped bring in entertainers for the C-Street Jam this year.

(The headliner for the C-Street Jam will be Mr. Tab Benoit. Tab appeared at the festival last year on the main stage and was a huge crowd favorite. He is a 2007 Grammy nominee artist. He has also been nominated in various categories for the Blues Music Awards, which, coincidentally, will be held two nights prior to our event. The Blues Music Awards used to be called the Handy Awards, and, in essence, they're the Grammys for blues artists. I feel pretty confident we'll have a Blues Music Award winner to headline this festival).

Other performers at the May 12 event will be Unmistaken, Candy Coburn, Tiffany Christopher Band and Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin. Tab Benoit will take the stage at 6.

Rusty Worley, executive director of the Urban Districts Alliance, says the C-Street Jam is helping to bring people back to Commercial Street.

(Last year we saw lots of fans for Big Smith come to Commercial Street, and several of the fans hadn't been here in quite a while. Generations of Springfieldians grew up coming here to shop and to dine, and now they see there's new life coming here and these artists are helping to attract them).

He says live music is the focal point of the strategy for success when revitalizing areas like Commercial Street.

(We've seem that in several urban districts, center city districts across the country. They use live music to start to draw in fans and patrons and then that helps to support restaurants, nightlife, but then we've already seen photographers moving in, several artists. We have a couple of attorneys on the street, the chocolate factory, so there's secondary businesses who feed off the new fans and customers who come in who love the live music).

The 2nd annual C-Street Jam featuring Blues artist Tab Benoit will be held May 12 from 4 to 10 pm at the Farmers' Market Pavilion on Commercial Street. Besides live music, there will be food, spirits and the ugly guitar contest.

After the jam, several Commercial Street venues will be open. Paul Parker, president of the Commercial Club of Springfield, says the jazz combo Landis and Martin out of St. Louis will perform at historic fire station number 2 at Boonville and Commercial. That concert is sponsored by Missouri State University president Michael Nietzel.

Tickets for the C-Street Jam will be $8 in advance, $10 at the gate, and children 10 and under will get in free.

Last year's event was held in August when hot temperature made concergoers uncomfortable. That's why the event was moved up to May.

Michele Skalicky has worked at KSMU since the station occupied the old white house at National and Grand. She enjoys working on both the announcing side and in news and has been the recipient of statewide and national awards for news reporting. She likes to tell stories that make a difference. Michele enjoys outdoor activities, including hiking, camping and leisurely kayaking.