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Friday July 31st, 2015 7:31PM

JJF, Arts in the Square wrap up busy weekend

By B.J. Williams News Director
GAINESVILLE - Organizers of the annual John Jarrard Foundation concert like to try something new every year, and this year their partnership with Gainesville's Art in the Square Festival turned out to be a big positive.

Both Bruce Burch and Jody Jackson with the Foundation reflected on the three day event Sunday afternoon on the downtown Gainesville square. The two said the Friday night concert on the square, which was free, was a great addition to the annual event.

An estimated 2,000 people showed up to see and hear the Jeffery Steele Band along with local group Riverstreet Again.

"I'm sure a lot of them maybe had never heard of the John Jarrard Foundation or what we do. A lot of them would normally not come into the city on a Friday night," he said.

The 11th annual John Jarrard & Friends Songwriters Showcase was held Saturday night on the front campus of Brenau University. This year's fundraising show featured songwriters Walt Aldridge, Tony Arata, Steve Bogard, Fred Knobloch and Phillip White. Jackson was not sure of the amount of money raised for local charities and said that figure would be released later.

Burch, who grew up in Gainesville with the late John Jarrard and was the originator of the songwriters' event in memory of his friend, said he, too, liked the addition of the events on the downtown Gainesville square.

As for how he'll top this year's event, he said he's not quite sure what's on the horizon.

"You've gotta constantly keep changing these things you, you know, to keep them interesting, [to] keep people coming out," said Burch. He said the most difficult part of the equation is adding new songwriters to the line-up.

The three-day event ended this year with Gospel Sunday, another first for the John Jarrard Foundation. The local groups, the Riverbend Baptist Church Choir, Divine 3:16 (the Young Adult Choir from St. John Baptist Church) and One Accord performed on the square between 1:00 and 4:00 Sunday afternoon.
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