It’s Bo Hill’s last year to book music for the Wine, Dine, Jazz festival in downtown Belleville, and he thinks he put together a crowd-pleasing lineup.
“What I’ve been trying to do is grow the audience,” said Bo, a Swansea retiree and jazz buff who’s moving to Florida.
“Every year, I bring in at least two or three new bands, and they bring their own groupies and fans, and once those people see what Wine, Dine, Jazz is all about, they come back.”
He’s an unbelievable talent. It’s almost like he’s playing with 20 fingers.
Bob Hill on jazz pianist Ptah Williams
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Festival hours are 5 to 10 p.m. Friday and 4 to 10 p.m. Saturday on the Belleville Square, rain or shine. Admission is free.
Bo booked five new acts this year, including D-Erania Stampley, a jazz singer and songwriter who plays piano and, most notably, straight alto saxophone.
“It’s an unusual instrument,” Bo said. “I’ve been listening to jazz for 50 years, and I’ve really never seen it before. She’s from Chicago, and she’s played all over the world.”
Other new sounds range from blues by Belleville native Big Mike Aguirre & the Blu City All Stars to New Orleans jazz by Funky Butt Brass Band to classical jazz by Bach to the Future. St. Louis jazz pianist Ptah Williams will kick off the music Friday night.
“He’s an unbelievable talent,” Bo said. “It’s almost like he’s playing with 20 fingers. He’s got a trio behind him, so it will be a quartet.”
Returning fan favorites include the Anita Rosamond Band, specializing in jazz standards, and the Soul Cafe Jazz Group, which closes out the festival Saturday night.
This is the ninth year for Wine, Dine, Jazz, which showcases jazz and blues, as well as Illinois wineries. Three years ago, organizers brought in gourmet food trucks.
“It’s a pretty mellow crowd,” said director Patty Gregory. “It’s not a huge party crowd. You see families and people in all age groups.
“You see older people dancing and younger people dancing. People bring their lawn chairs. It’s just a nice, relaxing event. It’s not the type of thing where it’s so crowded you can’t walk through.”
With the exception of Von Jakob, all these wineries are part of what they call the Heartland Rivers Wine Trail.
Bob Rosner on wineries at the festival
The festival started as a local follow-up to the nationally known Art on the Square in Belleville, and a way to help promote Southern Illinois wineries.
This year’s participants include Bretz Wildlife Lodge & Winery in Carlyle, Crooked Creek Winery in Hoffman, Hidden Lake Winery & Banquet Center in Aviston, Jo-Al Winery in Mascoutah, Lau-Nae Winery in Red Bud, Plainview Vineyard & Winery in Plainview, Roundhouse Winery in Centralia, The Winery at Shale Lake in Williamson, Springer’s Creek Winery in Edwardsville, Villa Marie Winery/Piasa Winery in Maryville and Von Jakob Winery & Brewery in Alto Pass.
“With the exception of Von Jakob, all these wineries are part of what they call the Heartland Rivers Wine Trail,” said Bob Rosner, who coordinates this part of the festival.
Three of the wineries — Hidden Valley, Von Jakob and Crooked Creek — recently won medals at the Illinois State Fair Wine Competition.
“Crooked Creek won four bronzes, and this is their first year of operation,” Bob said. “They’re a small husband-and-wife team who moved out here from Napa Valley and bought a winery.”
Wine will sell for $5 a glass at Wine, Dine, Jazz or people can get four tastings for $5 (plus $5 for a souvenir glass). Beer also is available for $5.
People can sit at picnic tables or pay $25 to enjoy the music from a VIP wine garden with reserved seating, concierge service, indoor bathroom access and the ability to share bottles of wine ($200 for table of eight).
“We have a wide variety of food this year,” Patty said, noting nine food trucks will be parked on site. “There’s everything from Brazilian to New York-style deli, Japanese to chicken wings, even a mac and cheese truck.”
At a glance
- What: Wine, Dine, Jazz festival
- Where: Belleville Square
- When: 5 to 10 p.m. Friday and 4 to 10 p.m. Saturday
- Admission: Free
- Bring: Lawn chairs, if desired
- Don’t bring: Food, soft drinks, alcoholic beverages, pets, skates, skateboards, Segways, bicycles, backpacks or large bags
- VIP wine garden: Pay $25 to sit in a section with reserved seating, concierge service, indoor bathroom access, etc.
- Information: Visit www.winedinejazz.com
- 5 to 6:15 p.m. Jazz pianist Ptah Williams
- 6:45 to 8 p.m. Classical jazz by Bach to the Future
- 8:30 to 10 p.m. Blues by Belleville native Big Mike Aguirre & the Blu City All Stars
- 4 to 5 p.m. Chicagoan D-Erania Stampley & Friends
- 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. New Orleans-style jazz by Funky Butt Brass Band
- 7 to 8:15 p.m. Jazz standards and more by the Anita Rosamond Band
- 8:45 to 10 p.m. Jazz cornucopia by Soul Cafe Jazz Group