Cullowhee! Artsfest, more than just music

Hot jazz comes to the cool Smoky Mountains this weekend as Western Carolina University hosts the CulloWHEE! ArtsFest, a summer celebration of live music and fine art featuring national recording artists The Manhattan Transfer, David Sanborn, Joe Sample and Bio Ritmo.

The new outdoor festival, set for Friday, June 14, and Saturday, June 15, will be held on the WCU campus on the intramural sports fields near the Ramsey Regional Activity Center.

Renowned keyboard player and composer Joe sample and legendary saxophonist David Sanborn will be the headlining performers on the evening of Friday, June 14. A hot salsa jazz combo, Bio Ritmo will perform on the afternoon of Saturday, June 15, with acclaimed vocal ensemble The Manhattan Transfer providing the nightcap.

The festival also will feature several regional and local jazz musicians performing both on the main stage and on a second stage within the Jazz Village, a large tented area where festival-goers can relax in the shade, enjoy a variety of food and beverage items. Also view and purchase arts and crafts.

A juried exhibit and sale, with nearly 25 arts and crafts vendors selected to participate, will feature a variety of fine art and craft media, including ceramics, glass, wood, fiber, metal, jewelry, baskets, handmade paper, iron, book arts, sculpture, photography and painting. Also on site will be a special children’s area.

Other performers at the CulloWHEE! ArtsFest include the Cyndra Fyore jazz Quartet (torch and cabaret style jazz), Hipshack (jazz-funk trio), Leonardo Suarez-Paz Quintet (Argentine tango with violin), Noel Freidline Quintet (classical jazz) and West End Mambo (Latin jazz).

Specially priced tickets are available at the Chamber of Commerce in the Cashiers Area, Franklin Area, Haywood County, Jackson County, Maggie Valley and Swain County, and at the 4½ Street Inn in Highlands. For more info, contact Western Carolina’s ramsey Center at (828) 227-7722, or online at