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Interview with Jesse Sachs (B.A. ?11 Ethnomusicology) JazzReggae Fest Producer

May 23rd, 2011 · 3 Comments

Interview with Jesse Sachs (B.A. ?11 Ethnomusicology) JazzReggae Fest Producer

Jesse Sachs is a 4th year Ethnomusicology major, world music concentration, and producer of the JazzReggae Festival 2010 and 2011. He also produced a short documentary about the 25 years of the JazzReggae Festival, A Celebration of 25 Years: A Review of the JazzReggae Festival at UCLA. Jesse says, ?This festival is a monumental achievement of UCLA students for the past 25 years presenting a wide arrange of Jazz, Soul, Hip Hop, Reggae and World Music?.I think this is very relevant to the ethnomusicology community, being that UCLA is home to the largest student run music festival of this kind in the country. ? A link to the documentary is:

Donna Armstrong interviewed him about his experience producing the festival.

The 25th Annual JazzReggae Festival 2011 will take place on Sunday, May 29 and Monday, May 30, Memorial Weekend, on the UCLA Intramural Field. For information go to:

Q: How did being an ethnomusicology student prepare you for producing the JazzReggae Festival?

Jesse Sachs: Studying ethnomusicology has allowed me to think about music in deeper ways then most programmers or promoters do. Having a deep understanding of the music you work with is important if you are going to present it and spread it to the public. Not only has it refined and broadened my taste, but it has given me a greater knowledge of the cultural implications of music. My study of ethnomusicology has given me an intellectual and ethical foundation on which to promote the music I do to the world. Anthony Seeger also gave me some great wisdom as my advisor for Ethno 195 course.

Q: What things were you not prepared for? What things did you have to learn on your own?

Jesse Sachs: When you first take on a position of producing an event of this size, you basically have to give up the idea that you can be prepared for everything. There are constant surprises and challenges that come along with concerts, but that’s also why the work is fun and dynamic. To many people’s surprise the JazzReggae Festival actually is all produced by students. Both CSP and ASUCLA provide advising and some guidance, but decision making mostly comes down to the student producers. Because of this, there is a lot that you have to learn on your own, often times the hard way. The biggest learning experience one gets working on the festival is how to deal with many different personalities. We have to deal with a vast array of people, from the diverse vendors, to eccentrics and egos in the music industry, to the many fans that call into the office every day. There is no better way how to learn how to deal with different people than to get out into the world and do it.

Q: What do you plan to do when you graduate?

Jesse Sachs: I do not have any set plans yet, but I intend to help build innovative projects in music and art. At UCLA, I have definitely found that my passion is to facilitate the spreading of music that I love.

Q: Do you have any advice for other ethnomusicology students who might be interested in this type of work?

Jesse Sachs: I did not think that I would have gotten the experience that I have from UCLA when I came in as a freshman. I couldn’t have imagined putting on a 25,000 person festival, or working with my musical heroes. My advice to other students is to take advantage of all that UCLA and Los Angeles have to offer. If you love music, you are in the right place to make things happen.

Tags: Ethnomusicologists · Ethnomusicology · Faculty · Musicology · Musicology · Performance · Performance · School of Music · World Music · World music

3 responses so far ↓

  • shanep1 // May 24, 2011 at 3:17 pm

    Great interview very interesting to see how the JazzReggae Festival got off to a great star!

  • eDrumSessions // Sep 13, 2011 at 11:50 am

    JazzReggae Festival is such a great tradition. I just watched the documentary, and I’m glad I did. Kudos to Jesse Sachs for keeping the tradition going strong.

  • RapBeats // Sep 12, 2013 at 3:41 am

    The documentary is awesome! I didnĀ“t recognized that