Jazz Festival planned to unify Booker T. Washington neighborhood

Jazz Festival planned to unify Booker T. Washington neighborhood

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - A new event is in the early planning stages in one of Myrtle Beach's historic neighborhoods. The Myrtle Beach Jazz Festival is being planned for fall 2016, but not along Ocean Boulevard, where most events tend to happen.

This event is for the locals, and it has special significance. Carver Street was the hub for music and dancing decades ago at clubs like Charlie's Place, especially for the black community, said organizer Mickey James.

And that's why James decided there would be no better place to bring a community together with a new jazz festival than right there.

"You had a lot of groups that came through this area during the time of segregation that were actually perform in the area, and actually stay in the area,"
according to James. "On this same street. Charlie's Place had a lot of people here that was famous."

To embrace that memory, James is planning the festival for Saturday October 1.  He expects a stage will go in front of the community garden. Vendors will line Carver Street which he is hoping to get approval to close between 21st and 18th Avenues North.

He didn't think of having it anywhere other than Carver Street, to embrace the legacy of Charlie's Place, celebrate culture, and uplift the neighborhood.
"This community has been on the down slope for so long, as far as positivity," James said. "So we want to add some positivity to the community, and a little bit of culture to the community. So people can say 'hey look, there are some good things going on in this neighborhood, not all bad things'."

And everyone is invited. "It's for everybody," James said. "All cultures, and races, and all people and…jazz has a great spirit."

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