The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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Return of Central Avenue Jazz Festival unites South Central LA

Clinton Jones
Crew working on setting up the stage at the Central Avenue Jazz Festival in Los Angeles, Calif., on Sept. 23, 2023.

Back for the first time since COVID-19, the 28th Annual Central Avenue Jazz Festival rocked the streets of South Central Los Angeles.

Tradition and reunion was the festival’s vibe, featuring soothing, euphoric jazz music by some of the genre’s top artists. The festival was held at the intersection of Central Avenue and 43rd Street.

Councilman Curren Price Jr. of Los Angeles City Council District 9 hosted the event. Over 50 businesses and organizations were in attendance, ranging from local businesses to non-profits.

“It shows what the community is about: bringing togetherness, extending resources and knowledgeable opportunities for assistance creating stability in this community,” Price said.

Noreen McClendon, the granddaughter of the event’s founder, Juanita Tate, and the LA Department of Cultural Affairs supported the councilman’s efforts.

“Councilman Price has improved the quality of the festival and invested his staff time into the festival, from adding more attractions to and a workshop for the kids activity area, to high-level jazz musicians, and expanding the festival for blocks, creating more local business opportunities and organizations for resources,” McClendon said.

The festival was kid-friendly, featuring workshops and attractions as entertainment. Different cultures expressed by smooth melodies from the piano, trumpet, or even an artist’s voice connected the community and produced excitement, high fives, and impulsive dancing that gave an atmosphere of genuine positivity at a jazz oasis.

CSUN alumna Jessica Montano, who now works for the parks and recreation organization PlayLA, expressed how her job and the festival go hand-in-hand in organizing strategies for camaraderie and outlets for youth.

“This needs to go on more for understanding different cultures and stopping negativity, showing we can come together and be one as a unit. I felt that when I attended CSUN,” Montano said.

A PlayLA staffer and former San Fernando Valley resident who identified himself as Keyshawn D. believes that events like the Central Avenue Jazz Festival should happen across LA.

“It’s left to the parks to put something like this together in Northridge. The city council doesn’t act on it. Not just the Valley, but LA in general, needs something like this. And it’s smack dab in the hood at that,” he said.

For further information on the Central Avenue Jazz Festival, visit their website.

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