On September 18, Palmer Square was filled with a crowd of people brought together to enjoy free jazz music as well as food from various vendors. Known as the 25th JazzFeast, the annual jazz festival happened due to the efforts of the New Jersey Jazz Society, American classic jazz cornetist Ed Polcer, and Palmer Square Management. The open-air festival mixed food and jazz music to create an event for families, foodies, and jazz lovers alike.This year, the jazz festival celebrates its 25th anniversary with a lineup of acts such as the renowned Alan Dale and the New Legacy Jazz Band, the critically acclaimed Peter and Will Anderson Quintet, and much more.
The festival began as a way to attract more people to Palmer Square with free music and a cluster of food vendors. For two consecutive days, the festival brings a crowd of people, including both families as well as fans of jazz music to the square, creating what has become a Princeton tradition. Over the years, the length of the festival has decreased from its original two days to a single day, but the idea behind it remained the same.
“[My favorite part] is definitely the atmosphere, and to see everyone so happy and gathered together enjoying music,” said Anita Fresolone, Marketing Director of Palmer Square Management.
Although the event has been happening for so many years, the catering services as well as musical acts continue to change each year.
“The acts we bring in are always critically acclaimed and each have their own following, so you can always find fresh faces in the crowd,” Fresolone said.
One of this year’s most notable musical acts included the Peter and Will Anderson Quintet. The ensemble of this performance included brothers Peter and Will Anderson on clarinet and saxophone respectively, as well as other band mates on bass, piano, and drums. They played a variety of pieces, covering a span of several different moods, from the somber “My Funny Valentine” by Frank Sinatra, to the soulful and upbeat “A Night in Tunisia” by Miles Davis and Charlie Parker.
As for the “feast” side of the festival, flavors from all over the world were featured, including paella, Korean pork tacos, samosas, pizza, and much more. One dish that was extremely popular this year was the seafood paella, served by Mediterra. Including chicken and oysters, as well as Spanish style rice served in a bowl, this dish was popular among feasters.
Furthermore, the Tico’s Eatery & Juice Bar truck also attracted a number of feasters, offering healthy cold pressed juices such as its signature drink, the Tico, which is a blend of pineapple, mango, and orange.
Other vendors that served at the festival this year included Buzzetta Festival Foods, Chez Alice Gourmet Café and Bakery, D’Angelo Italian Market, Jammin’ Crepes, Mehek Fine Indian, Nomad Pizza, Princeton Soup & Sandwich, Thomas Sweet Chocolate, Tiger Noodles, Tiger’s Tale, Triumph Brewing Company, Winberie’s, and Yankee Doodle Tap Room.
Altogether, the festival provides an opportunity for families and others alike to bond over free music and food.