After the hustle and bustle of another busy week, be soothed by the smooth sounds of jazz and embrace the culture at Saunders Park for the Lancaster Avenue Jazz and Arts Festival this Saturday, July 19 from noon until 7 p.m. Arranged by the West Philly community organization People's Emergency Center, the day promises to bring a wealth of superb performances, informative vendors and promising community engagement. You'll leave feeling refreshed and entertained and unlike a fancy spa—which will also leave you refreshed—this day of leisure is free.
The park, at 39th and Powelton, welcomes internationally renowned jazz saxophonist Azar Lawrence (who's worked with artists like Tina Turner, Busta Rhymes and Frank Zappa) to the lineup as well as locals Josh Lawrence, Glenn Bryan & Friends, the Charlene Holloway Band, Shakera Jones Quartet, Nasir Dickerson and Renaissance Messengers, RK$TDY, featured youth performers from Play On, Philly, the Women's Sekere Ensemble and West Powelton Drummers.
But as they say, the early bird gets the worm. If your morning routine includes fitness, get to the park by 9 a.m. for a family fitness challenge.
Throughout the affair, a selection of food trucks will be at the park: Curbside Creamery, Gigi's & Big R, Grill Cheese, Jamaican Irie Carribean, Lil Trents, Samosa Deb, Greensgrow Mobile truck and Side of the Road Jerk Chicken. Also on-site will be a wide selection of vendors and community resources like holistic and strengthening jewelry from Artistic Healing Expressions, hair care supplies from Indian Princess Hair, succulents from Potted Perfection and information from Drexel University, Free Library, Philly Bike Share, WHYY and many others.
Kids will go crazy for activities from Smith Playground, PEC's pop-up Digital Lab and a photo booth.
Even after the day is done, the party continues. A 90's themed after-party will start at 10 p.m. at West Philly's Community Education Center with a mixer, costume contest, live performances and a dance party.
In addition to Saturday's events, on Friday, July 18, Lawrence will share his musical knowledge with inspired students at Clef Club on South Broad Street for a master class. For an hour, starting at 1:45 p.m., Lawrence will help perpetuate the jazz scene in Philly.
Later in the day on Friday, July 18, adults can get the chance to raise money for youth and community arts in West Philadelphia through an artist reception with Azar Lawrence. Get up close and personal with the artist, tour the gallery at the Institute of Contemporary Art and enjoy light bites and beverages at the event in University City at 6:30 p.m.