Each year the Lake Arbor Jazz Festival brings members of the music and art community together to fundraise for the Prince George's Cultural Arts Foundation. (Photo courtesy of James Fields)

By Aria Brent,
AFRO Staff Writer,

The Prince George’s Cultural Art Foundation (PGCAF) held the 13th annual Lake Arbor Jazz Festival from July 12-16. The multi-day series of events included festivities at multiple venues and a wide range of activities for this year’s attendees. 

The festival was filled with much more than great jazz music. The five-day event kicked off with a VIP unplugged kickoff reception, held at WellSpring Manor and Spa. The itinerary leading up to the main concert included events such as celebrity golf outings, wine tours, meet and greets and an all white affair. 

“The artist lineup was excellent,” said Kevin Alexander, PGCAF board president. “The highlight would be the national artists. [We had] Najee on Thursday, with Frank McComb. Pieces of a Dream and Mike Phillips performed on Friday. And WAR! was our headliner on Saturday, but we had a host of national acts.”

The five-day music event was founded by Alexander in 2009 and was initially a free, one-day event in the Lake Arbor area. Over the years, the festival has grown to draw an audience of over 10,000 people. 

The main concert was held on July 15 at the Lake Arbor Community Center and over 3,000 people attended the live music experience. Guests were able to enjoy the sounds of artists like Jazmin Ghent, Rebecca Jade, Kim Scott, The BlackByrds, Nicholas Cole and Marcus Anderson. Legendary, soul-funk band WAR! headlined this year’s concert. 

“Having been raised in DC in the 60’s and 70’s singing along with The Blackbryds and WAR! was an absolute thrill,” commented one attendee, Renaire Rivers. 

The festival is a fundraiser put on by PGCAF and proceeds from the festival go to the PGCAF Scholarship Fund which provides funding to college-bound students attending a four year college or university. 

Sponsors such as Outback Steakhouse and Xfinity have worked with the organization before and returned to help make this year’s festival a success along with some new sponsors, including George Mason Mortgage and The AFRO.

A variety of venues in the Lake Arbor area were used to host the series of events that took place, including the MGM National Harbor Hotel and Casino, Oak Creek Golf Course, Two Lions Winery and Robin Hill Farms Winery. 

“We spread throughout Prince George’s County, with venues such as Wellspring Manor and Spa, the Lake Arbor Community Center and the performing arts center at Prince George’s Community College,” said Alexander. “We gave our guests a combination of indoor and outdoor festival activities throughout the entire weekend.”

Fans can anticipate the line-up of events and headliners for the 2024 Lake Arbor Jazz Festival to be announced in November of this year.