READING, Pa. – It’s officially the opening day of Berks Jazz Fest.
It all began Friday at noon with the traditional kickoff luncheon at the Peanut Bar in downtown Reading.
The annual jazz lunch is the first of more than 130 concerts scheduled over the course of the 10-day festival.
But it takes a lot of behind-the-scenes work to ensure the performances go off without a hitch.
“What goes into it is moving everything in here, you know we have to build the stage in here… we bring in the lights, we bring in the sound and then my job as stage manager is to help coordinate things between the artists, the venue, the professional crews that we bring in,” explained Mark Rentschler, a longtime Jazz Fest volunteer.
After all that, the shows can begin.
The Reading Liederkranz hosted a pre-festival benefit concert Thursday to raise money for the Mt. Penn Preserve Partnership. It served as sort of an unofficial kickoff to the 10-day event.
At the DoubleTree Hotel in Reading Thursday night, Berks Arts honored artists and those instrumental in making Berks Jazz Fest possible.
Events will be held at a number of venues, including the Scottish Rite Cathedral, which was damaged by a fire last year.
The festival will also feature a variety of acts and include specialized performances for children.
A complete list of shows and ticket information can be found here.