When first learning of the separation of our two major Quad-City Bix Beiderbecke events, I had mixed feelings. In the enormity of the race, the Bix Beiderbecke Memorial Society kind of got suffocated. By having the race on the last Saturday in July, and the annual Bix jazz festival on the first weekend in August, each event gets equal billing.
Plus the fact that Bix died on Aug. 6, 1931 makes the August tribute to him even timelier. And for people like me who are involved in both events, it’s a blessing because before now, the events often conflicted with each other.
For example, the grave site service is arguably the most single important event of the jazz festival weekend. Sadly, it was always held at the same time as the race. Now thankfully, I can do both.
If out-of-towners take a week’s vacation for either event, they can partake in both weekends like in the old days. And it’s easy for us locals to support both events.
In conclusion, the jazz festival and the race are tributes to the same Bix Beiderbecke. The Quad-City area has two weekends in which to celebrate our amazing Bix – one by running, and the other by sitting and/or dancing.
Truly, in Davenport, his hometown of which he was proud, Bix lives on forever, despite his tragically short life. He lives through his genius and his music.