NORMAN — Under the largest full moon of the year, Norman was jazz struck Saturday night as headliners, The Dirty Dozen Brass Band lit up the night with sound.
Brassy and bold, the New Orleans group incorporated funk and bebop into the mix of New Orleans brass. The music, the moon, and the people were in a celebratory mood in Andrews Park.
Tracey and Brittany Rout brought lawn chairs and their infant, Kinzie, and kicked back to enjoy the foot-long corn dogs.
“I’ve been coming for several years,” Tracey Routt said. “Everybody’s in a good mood. It’s a good festival.”
Brittany Routt balanced the baby on one arm and held a corndog with the other.
“It’s very welcoming for families,” she said.
MC Chad Mitchell of KGOU radio said he’s been working Jazz in June for 26 years. His wife served on the festival’s board and they meet during Jazz in June. The couple has been married 20 years. Maybe there was a “supermoon” the year they met, too.
Mitchell said based on last year’s estimates, he’s guessing between 6,500 and 7,000 attended the free festival this year.
“It’s one of the largest free festivals in the world,” Mitchell said. “Most festivals, if you get anywhere close to this size are putting up fence and charging you money.”
Devyn Smith said she just moved back to Oklahoma from New Orleans and was excited to introduce her young son Bennett to her favorite Norman festival.
“He’s been dancing all night,” she said.
The Justin Echols Jazz Trio, a local Oklahoma group that played prior to the Dirty Dozen introduced the crowd to dancing to jazz. Echols demonstrated, “The Walk,” “The Harlem Walk” and “They Snake.”
While most of the adults seemed content to lounge on blankets or kick back in lawn chairs, many children, like Bennett, were inspired to move with the music.
Jennifer Robertson brought her dog George and enjoyed a picnic on the grass with a friend. Robertson is a Norman resident who looks forward to the festival every year. She loves the laid back atmosphere of relaxing to jazz in the park.
Wesley Luster, Allison Rodriguez and Abby Robbins came from Midwest City and Choctaw.
“With awesome musicians like this, of course we’ll come back,” Luster said.
The money to produce Jazz in June come from donations and sponsorships. Most of that money goes to pay the bands. Small Pocket Poets put up the sound stage. Eric Williams and Tad Wiemer put together the recording project that will allow KGOU to rebroadcast the festival on July 4 at 8 p.m.