Carmel's International Arts Fest Gets Jazzed

Rate this post


Writer / Janelle Morrison

The summer and fall seasons are filled with local festivals that spotlight a community’s best assets and entertain its residents and guests with an assortment of food, entertainment and an array of vendors. The Carmel International Arts Festival is no exception to the list of incredible festivals that are hosted throughout Central Indiana. The Carmel International Arts Festival will take place on Saturday, September 27 and Sunday, September 28. The festival, chaired by a committee led by Carmel resident and Carmel Rotarian Rosemary Waters, will be celebrating its 17th year.

This arts festival brings together approximately 130 juried artists competing for top honors in their media field. Creative designs from new and renowned artists will provide festivalgoers with the opportunity to view professional displays and purchase unique works of art. In addition to artists’ booths, the Carmel International Arts Festival features two stages providing live entertainment with an international flair, cultural exhibits from Carmel’s sister cities in China and Japan and a scholarship contest for emerging, talented artists from Carmel High School and University High School.

This year brings a new addition to the festival to celebrate the history and the future of jazz. For the first time in both festivals’ histories, the CIAF and the Indy Jazz Fest have teamed up to help cross-promote each other’s events and to bring to the CIAF festivalgoers a taste of Indy’s best jazz festival via a band comprised of young jazz musicians from Indiana, including but not limited to: Lafayette, Bloomington, Fort Wayne, Indianapolis, Carmel, Zionsville and Brownsburg.

The Indy Jazz Futures are officially on the CIAF entertainment line-up this year. An announcement of the collaboration between the two festivals was made by members of the CIAF committee at the Jazz on Canvas event at the Jazz Kitchen in Broad Ripple last month.

“The Carmel International Arts Festival has always brought diverse and gifted talent to Carmel year after year,” Lynda Pitz, publicity chair for CIAF, explained. “This year is no different and we are delighted to have the Indy Jazz Futures on board. We are also excited for the opportunity to cross promote along with the Indy Jazz Festival. People coming to the Carmel International Arts Festival are consistently thrilled by the quality of talented artists, both visual and musical, that we host at the CIAF. We have entertainers performing on two stages during our festival, including the Indy Jazz Futures on our west stage this year. Our audiences love to see young people perform and this band combines both youth and jazz—an outstanding combination!”

The Artistic Director for the Indy Jazz Fest, Rob Dixon, spoke about the collaboration between the two festivals this year. “The Indy Jazz Futures was created because I wanted to put together a group of young people who are talented and aspiring jazz musicians that we could nurture to become professional musicians.” It’s a concept he got from his travels to festivals around the world where a few cities dedicate a “Jazz Futures” stage and heavily promote their local artists as tomorrow’s international stars.

“I thought the ‘Indy Jazz Futures’ would be a great name for our young people. That’s where our future is…it’s in our young people.” A successful saxophonist and graduate of Hampton University, Rob continued his learning in the Jazz Studies program at Indiana University. While there, he worked alongside renowned jazz educator David Baker. Rob’s experience in developing programs and musicians prompted him to create the Indy Jazz Futures program, and he is excited to have his musicians, who typically perform at summer band camps and school concerts, perform in front of the live audience at the CIAF. “To actually perform in front of an audience that expects a certain level of professionalism is great experience for them,” Rob said. “I think in that kind of situation, you learn expeditiously and they are going to gain years of experience within 30 minutes. It is very exciting for them.”

Rob is also excited for the opportunity to promote the Indy Jazz Fest, to spread their message even more at the CIAF, and considers it a “win-win partnership.” “Jazz has been a huge part of American history and art,” Rob explained. “When you study the music, you have to learn about all of that history. I have found that people who study music in general, particularly jazz, are usually very successful. I think being creative is paramount to being a successful adult in the workforce.” Rob is also proud to announce this year’s headliner for the Indy Jazz Fest will be the 2014 winner of NBC’s The Voice, Josh Kaufman, who will perform a full-scale production at this year’s Indy Jazz Fest. For a complete entertainment line-up for either festival, visit the CIAF or Indy Jazz Fest websites listed below.

The 17th Annual Carmel International Arts Festival
Saturday, September 27 (10-6)
Sunday, September 28 (10-5)
Admission and parking for the festival are FREE.

For information on the Carmel International Arts Festival visit