Yankton Trail Park | Sioux Falls, S.D.
Executive director of JazzFest Robert Joyce has witnessed a lot.
“I can recall Aaron Neville standing backstage in 2001 and he was about to go on with the Neville Brothers. He asked me ‘How many people do you think are out there?’ And I told him, it’s a big crowd, maybe 25,000 or so,” said Joyce. “His eyes got real wide and he looked a bit shaken. ‘Really, all those people here to see us? Now I’m nervous!’”
Or the time that artist Joe Bonamassa was waiting to go up on the main stage in 2005.
“He was just a young guy in a old ratty t-shirt. He was in the way for load in standing around and the stagehands yelled at him to ‘get off the stage and stay out of the way,” remembered Joyce. “Later in the night they watched as the ‘roadie’ they all thought they had pushed off the stage, walked up and started to perform his set—and blew everyone away.”
It’s memories like this that make all the time and commitment worth it to put on the now three-day music festival.
More recently, Joe Walsh of the Eagles made a huge impact on Joyce and the Sioux Falls Jazz & Blues Society when he performed last year.