Dasia Elswick

(Rock Hill, S.C.) — The Arts Council of York County hosted performers from all over the Carolinas, Oct. 6-7, for the 18th annual Blues and Jazz Festival, which included concerts in Clover, Fort Mill and Rock Hill.

Produced by Bobby Plair, Jr, the final day of the festival featured 12 bands performing at 11 different venues in downtown Rock Hill.

“I have been a part of this festival before, but it’s been over 10 years since I’ve been back, but when my agent Key Signature Entertainment called and asked if I would do it, because I was being requested, I didn’t hesitate to say ‘yes,'” said Buff Dillard, a musician who performed at the festival.

“I haven’t been in Rock Hill in a while. I think it’s a really nice funky town. It’s really nice here,” Dillard said.

Michael Williams, co-owner of the Hill Rock Shop, said events like the Blues and Jazz Festival and First Fridays Rock Hill have helped bring foot traffic to the city’s small businesses.

“Tonight is probably the best First Friday I’ve seen in at least a year or two, since pre-COVID anyhow, because everybody’s out, Main Street is packed, even the side streets are packed. This is great,” said Williams.

Josh Mangan, an employee at The Mercantile, said the festival helps bring a sense of community to downtown, by encouraging people to learn more about the arts.

“It not only educated, but it brought a bunch of different people together to learn about things they’ve never learned about before,” said Mangan.

“I’ve never really been much into jazz, but they do all kinds of different things out here and because of that, I’ve actually discovered some cool new music of my own from that. So, I just think it’s just good for everybody in that sense.”