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Jazz Fest brought people together

A diverse crowd partied in Gateway Park for our biggest annual event

Tim Cook and his adult daughter, Tiffany Jones-Cook, seemed like old pros of outdoor concert-going. Shielded by their own sunshade, they sat companionably together in the blazing sun at the 2016 Rosslyn Jazz Fest, sipping their father/daughter sangrias without a care in the world.

"Tiffany called me in the middle of the week and asked, 'Do you want to go to a jazz festival?'," Cook said. "She knows I like jazz, and I was happy that my baby girl thought of me and wanted to come out here with me. It makes me a proud father."

Tiffany said it was her first time attending the Rosslyn Jazz Fest, and she'd been enjoying the performances and was glad to come with her dad.

Verity Harman and Stephanie Quayle, also first-time attendees, said they live in the neighborhood and had read about Jazz Fest in the Rosslyn BID's newsletter. It was their first time in Gateway Park, and they liked what they saw (and heard).

And then, there were the die-hard fans, like Terry Shields of District Heights, Md., and Donna Shoulders of Falls Church. Although they didn't come together, both were in the front row, as close to the stage as could be. Even between bands, they stayed put and didn't surrender their prime concert-viewing spots. Shields says he's been coming to Jazz Fest for "at least ten years" and prefers old-school jazz, such as Duke Ellington, John Coltrane and Louis Armstrong. He wasn't familiar with the headliners, Grammy-winning Grupo Fantasma, but he was willing to give them a listen.

Shoulders said she loves jazz and has been coming to Jazz Fest for years. Recently, she'd been to New Orleans to enjoy the music scene there.

"We saw Trombone Shorty down in New Orleans," she said. Partly for this reason, she and her friend were most excited to hear his cousin, Glen David Andrews, "The Crown Prince of Treme," perform. "We're huge fans," she said, "and we love to dance!" Andrews did not disappoint, offering a super-charged trombone performance and electrifying the crowd when he left the stage and brought his music to them.

Young and old, from near and far, all these people came to Jazz Fest, drawn by a line-up of talented musicians and the event's lively atmosphere, which this year included three outdoor bars, a food truck alley, a Jazz Art Jam sponsored by Arlington Arts and the first-ever Kids' Jazz Zone, where kids could make their own instruments and play in Gateway Park's huge sandbox, which was launched at last year's Jazz Fest.

Despite temperatures hovering around the mid-90s, people seemed happy to be there. They sought out shady spots and took advantage of free bottled water being served at the bars. Many also slipped away from the scene to dine at Rosslyn restaurants, many of which were offering a 15 percent discount all day in honor of Jazz Fest.

"Jazz Fest is a great opportunity for the Rosslyn community to come together and welcome others from all over the D.C. area to our biggest party of the year," said Maureen Goldman, the Rosslyn BID's Marketing and Communications director who also served as emcee for the event. "We're proud of the talented musicians who join us each year and we're happy to keep this event free and open to all. We partner with Arlington Arts to make Jazz Fest happen and it takes a lot of preparation and planning, but seeing the huge crowd having such a good time makes it all worth it!"

To view a Facebook album with more photos of the event, click here.

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