Idyllwild, August and music, whether it’s word association, a recipe or a formula, the combination always results in the Idyllwild Jazz in the Pines. It is only two weeks until the 21st Annual Jazz in the Pines opens the gates and music blares over our mountain Saturday morning, Aug. 16.

This year, the festival will open with a traditional secondline parade beginning on Apela Drive at the front gate and proceeding to the French Quarter Stage. Leading the second line will be the Euphoria Brass Band, said Anne Finch, one of three co-chairs of this year’s jazz fest.

More than 20 acts will appear on three stages over two days, and, “It’s going to be great,” Finch promised. She knows quality, having performed with many of the entertainers and having chaired several past jazz fests.

Highlighting Sunday’s entertainment will be singer and songwriter Casey Abrams, Idyllwild Arts Academy alumnus and American Idol finalist. “There will be a great representation of alumni,” said Anne Erikson, another co-chair.

Other world-renowned musicians and Academy alumni will be on stage both days. On Saturday, clarinetist Evan Christopher combines virtuosity, taste and enthusiasm with a commitment to exploring the full range of possibilities in the New Orleans clarinet tradition.

Another alumnus, trombonist Jason Jackson, will join Christopher on stage. Jackson is a member of the Grammy-winning Vanguard Jazz Orchestra and now lives in New York City.

Another well-known-to-Idyllwild audiences and popular entertainer Yve Evans brings her strong melodic voice and piano playing back to the Holmes Amphitheater stage on Saturday. “There is an intangible quality in her music that gives it a life of its own; life that reaches out and touches the souls of the people that hear it,” wrote festival promoter Jeff Hocker.

Also extremely popular with local audiences is pianist Harry Pickens who will be in Stephens Hall both Saturday and Sunday.

“We’ve assembled incomparable musicians all for the purpose of raising funds for scholarships for Idyllwild Arts Academy and Summer Programs. As I’ve often been quoted, integrity has its own momentum,” commented Marshall Hawkins, Jazz in the Pines music director and lifetime member of the Associates of Idyllwild Arts Foundation.

Regularly priced tickets prior to the festival are $60 per day. Tickets are $65 per day at the door and may be purchased at

Gates to the Jazz in the Pines concert pavilion open at 10 a.m. both Saturday, Aug. 16 and Sunday, Aug. 17. The performers will begin at 10:30 a.m. at all three of the music venues and go until 5:30 p.m.

Parking is free with shuttles running continuously between the center of town and clearly designated lots. A variety of food concessions will tempt taste buds along with a selection of wines, draft beer and margaritas. More than 65 artists will be selling handmade items, including art, sculptures, jazz memorabilia, jewelry and Jazz in the Pines collector gifts.