Friday, 01 October 2021 14:53

John Coltrane Music Edu-tainment Fest going virtual Saturday

Written by
Rate this item
(0 votes)
John Coltrane Music Edu-tainment Fest going virtual Saturday William R. Toler - Richmond Observer

HAMLET — For the second consecutive year, the small festival honoring a locally born jazz legend is going virtual.


The annual John Coltrane Music Edu-tainment Festival will be online only again this year due to the ongoing COVID-pandemic, according to founder and organizer Gerard Morrison.

“We think this is the responsible thing to do to not jeopardize the well-being of others and becoming a super-spreader event,” Morrison said.

The JCMEF is scheduled to run from noon-6 p.m. Saturday.

The theme for 2021 is the Community Gratitude Tour — in appreciation for the 12 years of community support from performers and participants, Morrison said.

Now in its 13th year, the event generally features musicians from different genres, artists and a variety of community information — “celebrating roots and talents” of the Sandhills and Pee Dee Regions of the Carolinas.

In the past, the festival has been held at the multipurpose room of Waymon Chapel Faith Center, south of Hamlet.

The JCMEF is held the first weekend of October, a week following Coltrane’s birthdate of Sept. 23.

Coltrane was born at 200 Hamlet Ave. in Hamlet Sept. 23, 1926 to John and Alice Blair Coltrane, but grew up in High Point.

He joined a community band at the age of 12 and started a school band at William Penn High School, where he graduated at 16 before moving to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Coltrane served a short stint in the U.S. Navy and went on to meet and make music with other jazz greats including Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonius Monk and Miles Davis. 

Coltrane overcame alcohol and heroin addiction and was named “Jazzman of the Year” by Down Beat magazine in 1965. He died two years later in Huntington, New York.

Last year, Dr. Fred McQueen opened up the Coltrane Blueroom on the corner of Hamlet Avenue and Bridges Street, which is the building where the “Jazz Messiah” was born.

In the late ‘80s, when Jim Martin was governor, McQueen was instrumental in securing the historical marker on U.S. 74 Business to honor Coltrane.

Also last year, artist Scott Nurkin painted a mural of jazz legend John Coltrane on the back of the old Hamlet Theatre.

Gillespie, nearly nine years older than Coltrane, was born in nearby Cheraw, South Carolina, and attended the Laurinburg Institute on a music scholarship before also moving to Philadelphia.

The South Carolina Jazz Festival is held in Cheraw the second weekend in October to honor Gillespie.

To receive a ZOOM link to attend this year’s virtual JCMEF, contact Morrison at 347-286-8742 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or find him on Facebook under Gerard A. Morrison.