Dates, Lineup Announced For Bunny Berigan Festival

12/4/17 – The dates and lineup have been announced for an annual event that honors Fox Lakes-own jazz legend Bunny Berigan. The three-day Dixieland Jazz Festival will again be held on the third weekend in May.  Bands that will be featured this year are: the Bob Schulz Mid-West All Stars, the St. Louis Stompers led by Steve Lilley, the Kaye Berigan 5Tet and the Matt Miller Jazz Trio, along with a big band playing Berigans music with special guest trumpet player Duke Heitger from New Orleans. The 2018 event will be held in various locations including the Fox Lake Community Center, the American Legion Hall and Mullin’s Drive-In.  There will also be a Dixieland graveside service at Berigan’s grave that Saturday morning and two Sunday morning church services featuring the St. Louis Stompers at First Evangelical Lutheran Church in Beaver Dam. Roland “Bunny” Bernard Berigan was born in 1908 in Hilbert. His family moved to Fox Lake the following year and lived on State Street.  In 1935, Berigan joined the Benny Goodman band, recording such pieces as Blue Skies and Jingle Bells.  Later as a member of the Tommy Dorsey band, he recorded the hit Marie. In 1936, he set out on his own, releasing his most well-known song, the RCA Victor recording of I Can’t Get Started. After years of struggling with alcoholism, Berigan died during a bout of pneumonia in New York City in 1942 at the age of 33. The Dixieland Jazz Festival will be held May 18th-through-the-20th. More information is at bunnyberiganjazzjubilee.com or on Facebook as “Bunny Berigan Jazz Jubilee.”  Or call Julie Flemming at 920-928-6094.

Pictured: Steve Lilley of the St. Louis Stompers, courtesy of Julie Flemming