The Springfield Jazz and Roots Festival unites people through music by promoting the arts with a two-day event at Court Square.
However, the local program relies on those in the community to make it all happen.
This week, Western Mass News and PeoplesBank are highlighting one of those 'Everyday People' going above and beyond to bring the community together with a free, outdoor festival.
"I'm really excited about bringing really great talent here, educating people about music, and then the environment it creates downtown in Court Square where everyone comes together," said Yvonne Mendez, chair of the festival committee.
On August 12, 10,000 people, two stages, and over 50 musicians will fill Court Square in Springfield for the Jazz & Roots Festival, but it wouldn't be possible without the help of volunteers like Mendez.
"In the fourth year, she's really an integral part of this effort and we're really happy she is. She makes a big difference," said Kristin Neville, co-producer of the event.
Mendez is passionate about volunteering. She told Western Mass News that she seeks out organizations that are making a difference in the community by bringing people together and the Jazz and Roots festival is a perfect match.
"I feel like it's proven students and people engaged in the arts are more successful, they get along better, and I feel like that's one of the ways we can change the world basically is through the local community and spread out from there," Mendez explained.
With a long resume of volunteer work, including prior experience producing a jazz festival, Mendez is a great asset to the founders and producers of this event
"There's an organizational part of what Yvonne does that's like the glue that keeps things together and I think there's a lot of that, that she brings to the table," said Evan Plotkin, co-producer and founder of the festival
Neville added, "She brings a lot and it energizes and lifts up the capabilities of the organization."
In October, volunteers start dedicating a few hours a week to the event and as summer nears, volunteering becomes more like a full time job for some like Yvonne
"She's someone who's really made a commitment to make this a success and really putting her all into it and it's really impressive to see her hard work being put into it. It makes for a stronger team effort," Neville said.
Mendez said that it's a labor of love and can be intense at times, but it's worth it.
"When the day comes and the stage is up and the lights are on and people bring their lawn chairs and you get that real sense that it's valued in the community and i like that," Mendez said.
To learn more about the Springfield Jazz and Roots Festival, you can CLICK HERE.
Volunteers are still needed for the Jazz and Roots Festival, which runs Friday, August 11 and Saturday, August 12.
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