Home Carrollton UWG’s Sunbelt Festival brings free entertainment to community

UWG’s Sunbelt Festival brings free entertainment to community

If you’re a jazz lover looking for a relaxing way to enjoy a Spring afternoon, this news will be music to your ears. The University of West Georgia’s Sunbelt Festival returns Saturday, April 16, on campus at Love Valley.

Headlined by Atlanta’s Joe Gransden Big Band, and featuring Nashville’s Sofia Goodman Group, the free event also incorporates student musicians from local high schools and UWG’s own Jazz Ensemble

UWG’s Director of Jazz Studies, Dr. Ben Geyer, has evolved the festival to include a visible community component in addition to educational elements.

“The festival gives the public an opportunity to enjoy high-profile, top-level jazz musicians,” he explained. “However, instead of having the high school bands attend clinics that were essentially behind closed doors, I decided to include them in the performance the public will be able to see.”

And instead of one guest artist – as in years past – this year’s event has two who are bringing their entire troupes to play separate concerts composed only of the professional group. The Sofia Goodman Group is a five-piece funk fusion band that combines jazz with rock elements, and the Joe Gransden Big Band is a 17-piece big band.

“It’s great to see the combination of musicians on different levels – the high school bands, the university group and professional artists,” Geyer said. “A lot of these festivals take place in a city’s downtown area, but this is an opportunity for people who live in this area to access incredible music in a beautiful outdoor environment right by the GreenBelt.”

The Sunbelt Festival will take place on the UWG campus in Love Valley (accessible by parking at 302 West Georgia Drive) from 2-7 p.m. on Saturday, April 16. Parking and admission are free, and concessions will be available for purchase. For more information, please visit the UWG Jazz Studies Facebook event.

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Julie Lineback
Originally from East Tennessee, Julie Lineback joined the University of West Georgia in August 2006. Her career started in 2000, after graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Communications from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. While serving as a communications specialist at Oak Ridge Associated Universities, she received an Award of Quality from the Public Relations Society of America, the world’s largest public relations organization, for her work on a catalog. She also worked as a website editor, copywriter and search engine specialist for BellSouth, where she was a certified Google AdWords Professional. Most recently, she received the UWG School of Communication, Film, and Media's Distinguished Service Award for 2023.