Water Gap Jazz Festival Ready To Go

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DELAWARE WATER GAP -- The Pocono Mountains will be filled with the sounds of jazz music this weekend. It's the annual jazz festival in Delaware Water Gap and the festival starts Friday night.

Jazz music is very much part of the community's identity.

It's been almost a week-long project to assemble the main stage for the annual jazz festival in Delaware Water Gap.

More than a dozen musicians will be performing on the stage, providing a busy weekend for the stage crew.

"We help all the musicians put their instruments on and off the stage, keeping everything organized and on time," explained stage crew manager Jim Wyckoff.

Crews are also in the final stretch of setting up the rest of the area to host a festival that highlights the area's jazz musicians and local artists.

"This area is just jazz. People don't realize all the great jazz musicians that live right here in the Poconos," said festival coordinator Timothy Helman.

The jazz festival is in its 36th year. Festival organizers say jazz music has been a very important part of the Delaware Water gap community since the 1950s and some organizers say that this festival got its start right up the street at the Deer Head Inn.

"The Deer Head Inn was kind of pivotal because it was kind of the place where everybody came to play," said owner Bob Mancuso.

Mancuso says jazz was everywhere in Monroe County back then and this festival brings back the music and adds an assortment of local art.

Festival coordinator Timothy Helman is one of the featured artists.

"My art was inspired from the jazz festival," he said.

Rachel Cohen is also a local artist from Stroudsburg and came by to set up her area where she will display her artwork.

"It's like the best thing all year round. We all look forward to it. It's sort of the county fair for the rest of us."

The jazz festival in the Delaware Water Gap goes all weekend, wrapping up Sunday night.

All proceeds go back into the community for scholarships and to local charities.