[Dixielandjazz] young attendees at jazz festivals

acjspres at aol.com acjspres at aol.com
Tue Dec 16 13:02:42 PST 2003

I want to share with your readers one aspect of the recent Arizona Classic 
Jazz Festival that may be unique on the jazz festival circuit. Not only did we 
offer a great variety of jazz and ended up in the black, but the festival was 
greatly enhanced by the attendance of about 90 lindy hoppers from all over the 

These young people (20's and 30's) who are the best of the best swing dancers 
(teachers and competitors) have many events throughout the year. They host 
what they call "exchanges" where the kids come together in major cities all 
across the USA, stay in each others homes and participate in a variety of 
activities over the weekend. They always include lessons and dances on Friday, 
Saturday and Sunday nights. The Arizona Classic Jazz Festival in 2001 was the first 
time that one of these exchanges was held in conjunction with a jazz festival. 
Once our festival winds down at 11:00 or 12:00 pm the kids are just getting 
started…they bring in either bands of their own or DJ's and dance until 4:00 am 
on both Friday and Saturday nights. It has been a great success. Not only did 
we repeat it in 2003 but we plan even greater participation in 2004. With rare 
exceptions the response we have received from festival attendees and 
musicians alike has been extremely positive. The young people bring a freshness, 
energy and love of the music that revitalizes the entire festival.

Their favorite band is the Titan Hot Seven with Barnhart and Draga who have 
played for them for the last three years. I can say for sure that the band 
members enjoy these kids as much as the kids enjoy the music. 

I know this note may appear self-serving but I am extremely proud of the 
organizer of our Lindy Hop Exchange who produced a very successful event in 
conjunction with our jazz festival. He is my son, Dabney Hopkins. He is a 
professional Lindy Hopper who got the idea to get these dancers to our jazz festival 
knowing they would go nuts over OKOM. Dabney has been nominated to serve on the 
board of directors of our jazz society in 2004. If anyone has an interest in 
getting Lindy Hoppers to their event, simply contact Dabney at: 
Swingdabs at aol.com 

Joe Hopkins..AZ Classic Jazz Society
VP and 2004 festival co-director
480-396-6798   602-810-5888

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