A short history of the Mammoth Lakes Jazz Jubilee
seems like it was just last year that Elliott and Thelma Thompson said,
"Let's put on a little jazz festival!" Yet, that was how it began over
20 years ago. The Temple of Folly and Richard Cruz' Fullertown Strutters
were the bands in that 1989 extravaganza. At two bucks a head, 400 people
showed up for the 5 hour show. In spite of the challenges, everyone had
fun and something about the experience caught on. And, it's never stopped.
Six bands decided to take a chance on the second Jubilee. Everything went
pretty well as far as the 1,000 guests could see. However, the home-made
stages weren't constructed very well. They bounced ... a lot! Some of
the musicians even got a little seasick. So a crew of professional carpenters
- building a house nearby - were pulled off the job to crawl under the
stages while the bands played and shore them up. They
did it, had a beer and went back to build their house. It could only happen
in a small town! Currently, the best musicians and bands that
co-directors Ken and Flossie Coulter can find are showcased. And, it's gone from primarily a trad festival to a full variety of jazz event.
Something about Mammoth
Mammoth Lakes, California is a small
but lively spot of only four square miles and about 7,000 year round residents.
Bounded on the west by the Sierra Nevada crest, the region's base altitude
is 7800 feet and is characterized by its mountains, lakes, streams and
forests. Included is one of the finest ski resorts in the West; Mammoth
Mountain Ski Area. The Town of Mammoth Lakes economy is tourism-based
with nearly 8500 rental units in Mammoth Lakes. The geographic location,
160 miles south of Reno; 220 miles from Sacramento and 325 miles north
of Los Angeles and only 32 miles south of the eastern entrance to Yosemite
National Park, makes it a natural nucleus for winter and summer activities.