This year marks two decades of the Valencia Jazz & Blues Concert Series serving up summertime musical fun, and for the first time, this year, the series is moving from one end of Town Center Drive to the other.
The concert series was started in 1999 by the series’ owner and producer Barbara Myler as a way to engage the community and introduce them to the new businesses that were developing on Town Center Drive.
“That first year we had five days of promotion before we opened the first night and we were hoping that we could grow over the 14 weeks to have 500 people, and we had at least that the first night and we have never looked back,” Myler said. “We could never have anticipated the need for this kind of family-friendly cultural event that introduces people to local businesses and the different nonprofits we highlight each week.”
The free public concert series hosts different national and internationally recognized jazz and blues recording artists on Friday nights and also helps highlight the work of a different nonprofit each week. Over the past 20 years, Myler said she has worked with more than 50 different artists and 50 different nonprofits through the concert series. She said she chose jazz and blues as the featured musical styles because she wanted to appeal to a high-end demographic, and based upon the series’ success, she believes she made the right choice.
“Besides, everything started with the blues,” she said. “This is iconic music.”
This year also marks a change for the concert series. The concert series will move away from its traditional venue outside the Hyatt Regency Valencia to right across from the Westfield Valencia Town Center entrance, on the 24250 block of Town Center Drive.
“Westfield is excited to welcome the Valencia Jazz & Blues Concert Series to their new venue at Valencia Town Center,” said Corrine Barchanowicz, senior general manager of Westfield Valencia Town Center. “We love to bring people and families together at the heart of the community. Hosting the 20th anniversary of this concert series was an opportunity we were excited to support.”
Myler said she had noticed the efforts of Westfield to increase the quality of life in Santa Clarita and though talks have been ongoing for years, plans to relocate the concert series at the mall really began in earnest last year.
“We were looking specifically for our 20th year to move to a venue that was bigger, better, fresher and new,” Myler said. “We’re really excited to partner with Westfield as our host sponsor because of their commitment to the families that live here and their understanding of our culture.”
Myler said she is still in disbelief that the concert series has received the level of support and has lasted for this long.
“We had no idea, and it’s hard to believe it’s been 20 years,” she said. “My kids were all little when we started and now they’re all married and I’m a grandma. This event has become part of the fabric of the community and marks the beginning of summer every year, and I consider it a great honor to have had the opportunity to bring this to the community, never anticipating what it means to the community and to me.”
The Valencia Jazz & Blues Concert Series is scheduled to begin on June 14 and will run every Friday night until Aug. 2. Food and drink vendors will open at 6:30 p.m. and the featured artists will play from 7 to 9:30 p.m. For more information regarding the series or sponsorship opportunities, visit www.ValenciaJazzandBlues.com or call Barbara Myler at 661-290-2911.