Oxnard– After a two-year absence, the fifth Oxnard Jazz Festival returned September 9-11, broke through storm clouds and delivered great music to fans.

JHE the crowd reveled in standout artists like Jeffrey Osborne and enjoyed music by Thee Travis Miller and Erin Stevenson, which got the crowd going.

Promoter Chuck Dennis said there’s been a pushback at all festivals right now.

“Our staff are functioning at 100%, but people who had Covid are staying home,” he said. “There are a ton of people who really want to hang out.”

He canceled the Friday event because they didn’t have the infrastructure and they were dealing with rain.

“We had to move all of our resources from Friday to Saturday because we had to lay out the park,” he said. “Then we had to go further to cover everything, so we couldn’t manage both events. Next year we will be back with the Women’s Expo.

When building a range, Dennis bases his decisions on customer feedback.

“We have a Survey Money that we will send out, and we will ask you who you would like to see,” he said. “We start in October because it’s a promoter’s or booking agent’s job to make sure their artist is working every year. We need to have certain dates rotating in our area, so we try to pick talent in October and November.

He likes to mix local and national artists.

“Every show we do, we always try to meet the needs of two local bands,” he said. “Originally scheduled yesterday, we had planned for the Ventura College Jazz Band to perform, but as our schedule was running behind schedule due to a quick rain, we moved them.”

He feels there’s a jazz influence running through Ventura County.

“We’re still trying to find them all, but there are a handful,” Dennis said.

Artist PR manager Sheryl Aronson said it was “fabulous” to be back after a two-year Covid hiatus.

“Because we were only on Saturday, one day, we have two days,” she said. “It’s the difference to celebrate our fifth year with an amazing range. We had Jeffrey Osborn; he was our closest Saturday night. Eric Darrius is our closest tonight.

She loves working with Dennis and contributing to the

Jazz Festival.

“Chuck does a lot with Oxnard,”

Aronson said.

“He received a statement of support from Ventura County and (John Zaragoza), the mayor of Oxnard. Chuck is very involved in the community.

Aronson knows all the performers, so making sure they’re comfortable isn’t a problem. “I photograph them, and I personally know many of them and have written about them,” she said. “The artists are comfortable here; they like to be interviewed and have their picture taken. They are well treated.

She said artists are fan-friendly.

“Jeffrey Osborne was in the audience last night (Saturday) doing his woowoo woo and clapping,” Aronson said. “Althea René is out in the audience, and Eric Darius, he will sit on people’s laps.”

Sunday’s opening act Travis Miller plays acoustically and builds tracks as he plays. His performance at the Festival was Soul and Old Blues.

“I like to do a bit of everything I can,” he said.

He is proud to be part of the Oxnard Jazz Festival lineup.

“I think it’s great,” he said.

Miller said he went through his set list before arriving and admitted he went through his songs “at least” 40 to 59 times before the event.

“I hope I’m not going to be wrong, but we’ll see,” he said. “I’m going to play covers and originals today.”

His original songs may be inspired by world events or things happening in the world around him.

“It can be personal, just my story of what I’m up against and my own feelings,” Miller said. “Inspiration comes randomly. Sometimes it will be in the middle of the night, maybe when I wake up. It’s sporadic.”

When the crowd engages, he said it gets him more excited than he normally would be.

“When the crowd gets into it, I tend to go into improvisational mode, enhance the crowd sentiment and think about what would vibrate,” he said. “It really helps me and gives me the energy to do something on the fly.”

He said his grandfather introduced him to music and that at 16 he was a bad boy and did not do well in school.

“He was like, hey, why don’t you try the guitar,” he said. “I didn’t want to do it. He kind of forced me to learn, and after a year it started to come to my mind, and I said, hey, I’m really good at something. I like it and people like what I play, so it’s been almost 14 years.

Miller bombed the stage at his first high school talent show, but he loved the feeling of excitement.

“I felt like I was alive, even though it was unnerving,” he said. “I thought I would like to do this for a living.”

He met his wife when she was a singer in a band, and she supports him wholeheartedly.

“She loves it and is proud of me,” Miller said.

Visit teatravismiller.com for all his music.

Beto Delgado of the Switch Car Club attended the festival along with members of two other car clubs.

“It’s our first time doing the Jazz Festival with Chuck, but we’ve done a lot of charity with them on top of that,” he said. “We did the Cancer Charities, any type of charity that they ask us to support.”

He looks forward to Darrel Walker’s performance.

“The emotions are going to be here; it’s another good band,” he said.

Delgado said you would get involved in classic cars if you live in Oxnard. He spent 32 years working for Cadillac, so he bought himself a Cadillac.

“I fell into it,” he said.

Delgado loves all the members of his Car Club.

“It’s all about family,” he said. “In our particular Switch Club, we’ve been together since 1978, but the majority of our clubs are still the same members. Now we all have families.

Larry Stamps attended the Oxnard Jazz Festival on Saturday and Sunday and said it felt good to get out and enjoy the music.

“Jeffrey Osborne impressed me the most, without a doubt,” Stamps said.

He stays local and visits Ohio.

“I know Oxnard very well,” he said. “My mother-in-law lived here, so we visited all the time. I’ve been going back and forth to Oxnard for 50 years.

For updates, visit oxnardjazzfestival.com.


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