Jazz festival offers large venues, intimate dinners

Volunteers bring community spirit to four days of music
Mindi Abair returns as a headliner for this year's jazz fest.
October 17, 2013

Big-name artists are a critical part of jazz festival, but the event does not stop there. Volunteers are hard at work for months behind the scenes to ensure everyone has a great time at venues large and small.

Jazz Festival President Dennis Santangini said one of his most important allies in assembling shows has been Steve Butler, this year's producer of the year.

"He has a lot of the artists that are coming here on his record label," Santangini said. "He and I work all year long to put shows together."

Most shows are already sold out, he said, and he may sell out entirely before the 24th annual fest kicks off Thursday, Oct. 17.

But even if the main events sell out, there will be plenty jazz to listen all weekend.

Many restaurants book their own entertainment corresponding with the jazz fest, so people who never set foot in the four official jazz fest venues have plenty of opportunities to enjoy a show every night of a long weekend jazz at the beach.

More than 60 volunteers work to make the music weekend possible, Santangini said, with many of the same faces returning each year, bringing community spirit to the event..

"A lot of them just do it because they love the jazz festival and enjoy working it," Santangini said of his volunteers. "We typically have a volunteer dinner when its all over, but they like to be a part of the festival."

Volunteer Melissa Clink said she originally got involved as a way to participate in the community shortly after the moved to Rehoboth 21 years ago.

Like many others, Clink recalls when the music celebration was concentrated in downtown Rehoboth and the weekend of music  felt cozy and intimate in a beach town that was all but shut down after Labor Day.

"Over the years, the venues have changed, and the size of the festival has grown by leaps and bounds," she said. "It's unique in that it brings a mixture of incredible talent to such a small area."

After more than two decades working the festival, Clink said she still enjoys the revelry and sees the impact at her Bed and Breakfast, At Melissa's, in Rehoboth.

"I'm small, I'm only 6 rooms, but I have the same people that come every year, and they've already booked for next year," Clink said.

Beyond the scope of the actual festival, the Cape Region retailers, restaurants, accommodations and artists have felt the trickle-down effect of the festival with otherwise unseasonable boosts in sales, reservations and bookings.

The festival draws as many as 25,000 visitors to the Cape Region, Santangini said, boosting the Cape Region economy as the summer season winds down.

As this year's event approaches, Clink said she is eagerly awaiting the good music and good vibrations she knows will also come free with the festival.

"Its been a boom for the hotel industry, and it helps commerce all around – and it's happy," she said. "It's fun, because people like music, and music makes people feel good."

For more information or to purchase remaining tickets, go to

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