Sam Carr, a native of Mercer County, has been the man behind the scenes of the Fort Harrod Jazz Festival for six years.
“We have come so far in six years,” said Carr. “We started with a $500 budget, a borrowed sound system and only three bands.”
Today the Jazz Festival is a three-day long, 18 band festival that attracts national recognized talents such as Adrian Crutchfield, the last saxophone player to play with the legendary artist Prince.
“We have grown the festival to be a creditable music destination for many diverse artists including universities across the state,” said Carr. “We now have 35 sponsors and nationally acclaimed musicians contact me about performing.”
Carr said the hardest part of organizing an event is raising funds.
“It is a year around gig,” said Carr. “The moment the festival ends I am preparing for next year’s event.”
The Jazz Festival isn’t the only community organization utilizing Carr’s talents. He is also involved with the Mercer County Chamber of Commerce as the president of the board of directors.
Planning events and volunteering for community organizations is just a side job for Carr. He has worked for Kentucky Utilities and Louisville Gas and Electric for 37 years after he graduated the University of Kentucky with a chemical engineering degree.
Carr also plays in three Jazz bands, one rock band, is a community member at Asbury University Band, part of the Advocate Brass Band and participates in several church music productions.
“Some of the music bands are seasonal,” said Carr. “I know it is a lot but I love it.”
Carr said he enjoys playing in bands and performing.
“Jazz is such a diverse genre of music,” said Carr. “There is really something for everyone. There is no box, it is freedom to play how you want.”
When asked what Carr loved most about being a musician he said, “Being a musician has allowed me to make lifelong friendships and taken me to places that otherwise would not have been possible, all while doing what I love most.”
To kick off the month and remind people of the upcoming Jazz Festival, Carr’s band Blue Groove Jazz will be performing on Saturday, Sept. 7, from 6-8 p.m. at the Beaumont Inn.
The Fort Jazz Festival will be held Sept. 20-22.
For more information, visit the jazz festival webpage at www.ftharrodjazzfest.com.
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