Summer concerts bring distinct sounds, noted musicians this weekend

Jonathan Black
Contact Reporterjoblack@dailypress.com

Peninsula residents could be stretched thin this weekend as three distinct music festivals hit the area beginning Friday.

Williamsburg's Funhouse Fest, this year's version of Festival Williamsburg, will feature three days of performances by Grammy-winner Bruce Hornsby.

It will be joined by Hampton Jazz Festival, entering its 49th year as the Peninsula's premier jazz event.

If that wasn't enough, country crooner and American Idol winner Scotty McCreery will perform Saturday at the Isle Jam Concert Series in Isle of Wight.

Charlie Wilson returns to Hampton

The 49th annual Hampton Jazz Festival returns Friday with performers like Gladys Knight, New Edition and Charlie Wilson hitting the stage through the weekend.

The selection of the artists, according to festival director Joe Tsao, comes from a mix of audience feedback and artist availability.

"We try to mix up the artists so not everybody is an instrumentalist, male or female singers. It's all taken into consideration in a lineup and then some," Tsao said. "We try not to repeat artists unless it's a special circumstance that people want to see a certain artists."

One repeat artist this year is fan-favorite Wilson, a Grammy-nominee whose career has spanned more than 20 years.

"Wilson tickets sell," Tsao said.

Wilson will hit the stage Sunday, performing a mix of new and classics.

"I love playing the new and I love playing the old," he said. "It's sweet from both ends."

One thing that stays the same for Wilson is the fans.

"The fans are great and I love Hampton," he said. "They give me that boost. When I receive a lot of energy I give a lot. They ignite me."

In the meantime, Wilson is continuing to work a new album — a follow up to 2015's "Forever Charlie."

"I started on it maybe a month or so ago. It's really turning out good," he said. "I'm happy with where I am right now."

Williamsburg's Funhouse Fest

The idea for Hornsby to headline three days of performances this weekend came following a conversation between the Virginia Arts Festival and the musician, according to public relations director Cynthia Carter-West.

"We were thinking about an outdoor festival because there are several successful ones in the area," she said. "Originally we were thinking of another location and Bruce said maybe we should do it in Williamsburg."

From there Hornsby, a Williamsburg native, decided on the festival and chose the performers.

"It's a great array of artists and a really good mix of genres and styles of music," she said. "It's an opportunity for his fans to hear his older music and his newest CD."

The concert comes on the heels of Hornsby's latest album, "Rehab Reunion," which was recorded entirely on the dulcimer. A departure from his standard piano-centric sound.

Hornsby will perform every night of the festival, with the theme varying each day. Friday will feature a bluegrass lineup, Saturday will have singer-songwriters and Sunday will cap off the festival with Hornsby taking audience requests.

Colvin & Earle, The Taj Mahal Trio and Greensky Bluegrass, among others, are scheduled to perform.

Isle Jam Concert Series

Scotty McCreery, season 10 winner of American Idol, will headline a day of country music performances in Isle of Wight Saturday.

When planning for the series began in October of last year, organizers knew they wanted to focus on bringing country artists to the area, said fair and events coordinator Lauren Woods.

"In this area, country sells," she said.

McCreery will be joined by Adam Sanders and Celeste Kellogg at the first-time festival with the aim to bring in a younger crowd.

Woods said they're aiming to bring in about 3,000 people Saturday.

Food vendors, drinks and games will be available for concert goers.

"People can make it a whole tailgating experience all in one night," Woods said. "The fairgrounds are such a great area that we don't get to use often."

A second Isle Jam concert is planned for July 23 featuring Easton Corbin. The original performance was scheduled in May but rain forced to delay the concert two months.

Hampton Jazz Festival

The 49th edition of the festival begins at the Hampton Coliseum on Friday.

Friday: 7:30 p.m. Gladys Knight, Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue, Michael McDonald, Leela James.

Saturday: 7 p.m. New Edition, Kenny "Babyface" Edmonds, Judith Hill, Forte Jazz Band featuring Brian Pinner.

Sunday: 2 p.m. Charlie Wilson, Stephanie Mills, Boney James, Joselyn Best.

Tickets: $65 per day.

More info: hamptonjazzfestival.com or 757-838-4203.

Funhouse Fest

Performances on The Lawn of the Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg.

Friday: 7:15 p.m.-8:15 p.m. Greensky Bluegrass. 8:45 p.m.-10:15 p.m. Ricky Skaggs and Bruce Hornsby.

Saturday: 4 p.m.-4:45 p.m. DeJohnette Coltrane Garrison. 5:15 p.m.-6:30 p.m. Railroad Earth. 7 p.m.-8:15 p.m. Shawn Colvin and Steve Earle. 8:45 p.m.-10:30 p.m. Bruce Hornsby and The Noisemakers

Sunday: 3 p.m.-3:45 p.m. Chessboxer. 4:15 p.m.-5 p.m. Aoife O'Donovan. 5:30 p.m.- 6:45 p.m. The Taj Mahal Trio. 7:15 p.m.-9:15 p.m. Bruce Hornsby and The Noisemakers.

Tickets: Single day passes start at $29.95 for Friday and $39.25 for Saturday and Sunday. Three day passes start at $99.75. Tickets can be purchased onsite.

More info: funhousefest.com or 757-282-2800.

Isle Jam

Performances at the Isle of Wight County Fairgrounds at Heritage Park in Windsor.

June 25: 5 p.m. Scotty McCreery, Adam Sanders and Celeste Kellogg.

July 23: 5 p.m. Easton Corbin and Boot Rooster.

Tickets: General lawn seating is $25 for June 25 and $20 for July 23. Tickets can be purchased on site.

More info: islejamva.com or 757-357-5182.

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