PANAMA CITY BEACH — From the Panama City Beach Newspaper – Matt Marshak looked like a rock star as he and the Seabreeze Groove Project found the beat Saturday afternoon.
“Unreal, unbelievable, unforgettable,” was how the guitarist described the Seabreeze Jazz Festival at Pier Park.
Marshak and his fellow musicians, Shilts and Four 80 East, get together at the festival each year.
“It’s a privilege to be here,” Marshak said.
Nearly 6,000 people attended Saturday’s sold out event, organizers said.
Folding chairs, sun umbrellas and music lovers filled the Aaron Bessant Amphitheater at Pier Park. Some folks shook their heads in time with the music while others shook their booties.
Jeff Taylor of Gulf Breeze has been attending the festival for nine years. The annual event is a great value and is as good, if not better, than similar festivals on the west coast, Taylor said.
Taylor was sitting next to Ernie Davis of Shalimar, who said that jazz fans share “real camaraderie” with one another. When the festivals open. lots of people recognize one another from past events.
“We know all the faces,” Taylor said.
The event also offers the best musicians and value for the dollar, Davis said.
Darryl Richardson, of New York by way of Atlanta, has been attending the festival for three years. The weather, the quality music and the proximity to the beach make the event a can’t miss, Richardson said.
“The people have just been open arms,” he added.
Steve Lawrence, another Atlanta resident originally from New York, said that he can always find some Jazz to suit his mood.
“It’s just smooth and relaxing,” Lawrence said. “I like hip hop, but if you listen to it all the time it will drive you crazy.”
He added that listening to hip hop while driving often leads to a ticket.
Jazz brings all kinds of people together, Lawrence added.
“It doesn’t have a color barrier,” he said. Everyone is “bopping their heads to the beat.”