Weekly newspaper of Three Rivers, California, and Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Parks

1995: The Kaweah Commonwealth newspaper celebrated its 20th year of publication on March 1, 2015. That means 20 Jazzaffair front pages now exist in the archives. Here are the first five that announce the popular April event. (Click arrows to scroll through.)1996199719981999

Welcome to the 42nd Jazzaffair

John Elliott


As the local newspaper, what we enjoy most about this weekend is being a part of the pure joy of so many folks who just keep coming back year after year to this unique small venue festival called Jazzaffair. Even the name Jazzaffair is unique — a throwback to another era just like the music that can be experienced at the festival’s four venues. 

As The Kaweah Commonwealth, this is our 21st Jazzaffair, arguably the one weekend that epitomizes the traditional culture of Three Rivers. Those 21 years of newspapering at Jazzaffair are a drop in the bucket compared to High Sierra icons like Earl McKee, Charlie Castro, and Bruce Huddleston, who have never missed a beat of a Jazzaffair or a Jazzberry Jam, which is what preceded the festival that has evolved today. Stan Huddleston has played every Jazzaffair since the High Sierra Jazz Band was organized in 1976.  

Chet Jaeger of Night Blooming Jazzmen has played at every Jazzaffair save for one when he had a schedule conflict. How is that possible? (Pssst! He’s in his 90s.) 

Faithful badge-holders cite three principal reasons for the event’s sustainability: (1) High Sierra Jazz Band is the host, (2) Jazzaffair is held in Three Rivers, and (3) it’s the best lineup of all the jazz festivals.


High Sierra Jazz Band— There is no other band on the planet like High Sierra. Even though they’ve made some frontline changes every decade or so, there has never been a drop off in the quality of the music or their mutual love affair with their fans.

Their pace, their passion, their zest for life, their on-stage wit and wisdom is indomitable. High Sierra’s growing legion of fans love these guys, their wives, their kids, their grandchildren. It truly is one big, happy family that congregates at jazz festivals and cruises to everywhere, but especially at Jazzaffair.


Three Rivers— There’s no place like Three Rivers anywhere else. It’s a small town but part of something really big: the Sierra Nevada. 

Three Rivers is difficult to find and hard to get to but once you’re here you will stay, or just keep coming back. It’s funny but around these parts we always thought climate change was simply the weekend weather forecast for Jazzaffair.

Who will ever forget the year when the tent venue was at Lions Arena and experienced a river running through it? That’s right. A torrent of muddy water came right through the tent and created a quagmire where the jazz fans park their RVs.      


Jazz musicians—That best darn lineup of any festival is no understatement. You might notice that this year’s lineup is quite similar to last year’s. If ain’t broke don’t fix it. 

Ask any musician. It doesn’t take much persuasion to get them to play Jazzaffair. They love playing here.

The secret to the success of Jazzaffair simply put: High Sierra Jazz Band is the impetus to the Sierra Traditional Jazz Club and the impetus to the HSJB is the STJC. 

When so many other festivals like Mammoth Jazz Jubilee  (cancelled for 2015) are struggling to survive, Jazzaffair is alive and thriving. 

Let the good times roll… on and on and on. 


Plan your weekend— A complete schedule of performances for this year’s Jazzaffair is online at www.kaweahcommonwealth.com/news/jazzaffair-2015-performance-schedule.