Home Local News Fashion show added to 15th annual John Coltrane Music Edu-tainment Festival

Fashion show added to 15th annual John Coltrane Music Edu-tainment Festival

A mural of jazz legend John Coltrane, who was born in Hamlet, has been the talk of the town and beyond.
Kenny Melvin - Richmond Observer

HAMLET — The annual event honoring the legacy of a local jazz legend is weaving in another component.

Gerard Morrison, founder of the John Coltrane Music Edu-tainment Festival, is adding a “Fashion with Passion and Purpose” show to the event for its 15th year.

For the fashion show, Morrison is seeking designers, models, cultural creators, entrepreneurs and organizational leaders.

As usual, Morrison is also seeking musicians to perform at the event in genres ranging from blues to bluegrass, salsa to soul, country to classical, reggae to rock, funk to punk — as long as it’s family friendly.

Authors, poets, dancers and other artists are also invited to be a part of the event.

Morrison founded the festival for several reasons, including to honor the “Jazz Messiah” and bring attention to the musical and cultural heritage of not only Richmond County, but the Sandhills and Pee Dee regions of the Carolinas.

Coltrane was born at 200 Hamlet Ave. 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.

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.

Coltrane overcame alcohol and heroin addiction and was named “Jazzman of the Year” by Down Beat magazine in 1965. Two years later, he died due to complications from liver cancer.

In 2009, Coltrane was inducted into the N.C. Music Hall of Fame. Other local inductees include bluesman Blind Boy Fuller (born in Wadesboro, raised in Rockingham) and American Idol alum Bucky Covington.


In 2020, Coltrane was honored with a mural in Hamlet by artist Scott Nurkin. It was the first in a series by Nurkin to recognize North Carolina musicians.

Click here to read more about the mural.

In September the same year, on what would have been the saxophonist’s 94th birthday, the late Dr. Fred McQueen opened the Coltrane Blueroom on the corner of Hamlet Avenue and Bridges Street, which is Coltrane’s birthplace.

McQueen and the late Dr. Wendell Wells restored the building from rubble, using the original brick, in the late ‘80s. Around the same time, McQueen was instrumental in securing the historical marker to honor Coltrane on U.S. 74 Business.

Click here to read more about the Coltrane Blueroom.

The JCMEF went virtual in 2020 and 2021 in response to the COVID pandemic.

The festival is scheduled for noon-6 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 7 at Wayman Chapel Faith Center, 1935 Ghio Osborne Road, south of Hamlet.

For more information, contact Morrison at 4JCMEF@gmail.com or call 347-286-8742.

Previous articleTams return to Rockingham for Plaza Jam series
Next articleCOLUMN: Pause before you post