Washington State University Tri-Cities will take advantage of its Columbia River view and outdoor stage in mid-June when it has its first annual Jazz & Wine Festival.
Jazz and blues musician Wes Mackey, who has toured internationally, will headline the evening June 19, as well as lead a clinic and public lecture at the university earlier that day.
“That was a tremendous offer from Wes,” university spokesman Jeffrey Dennison told the Herald.
University officials said the event is part of an effort to give the campus a more public profile as a cultural center and hub for the community, a goal Chancellor H. Keith Moo-Young indicated was a priority when he was hired two years ago.
Mackey will perform on the Columbia Center Rotary Stage, which faces the quad between the campus buildings and the river. Food and drink will be for sale throughout the performance. Tickets range from the $75 Chancellor’s Crimson Premier status, which is limited to 20 guests and provides backstage access and VIP seating, to $10 general admission tickets.
The campus has had a few large cultural celebrations in the past year, including the Evening with the Arts event last September and the April visit from writers Gwen James and Pete Fromm in the first ever event from the Mid-Columbia Literary Festival or LitFest at the Richland campus.
The university also announced plans for summer concerts last year after signing an agreement with Kennewick-based events promoter Riverfront Concerts.
No events have yet come from the arrangement. Riverfront Concerts’ Facebook account hasn’t been updated since September, and its website has no information about the company.
Dennison said the June festival is being organized by the university. He said he could not speak to the status of the agreement with Riverfront Concerts.
For more information, go to tricities.wsu.edu/jazzandwine.