The 17th annual Jefferson Street Jazz and Blues Festival returns this weekend. The two-day event starts Friday with a mixer and continues Saturday with the official Festival at Bicentennial Mall.

On Friday, the “Bridging the Gap” mixer with DJs and drink specials will be held on 5th Ave. between Demonbreun St. and Korean Veterans Blvd. beginning at 4 p.m. Tickets can be purchased in advance for $20 via nashvillejazzandbluesfest.com or at the mixer for $25.

Saturday afternoon, the festival will be held at Bicentennial Mall. Rose Royce, the band best known for their song “Car Wash,” and R&B singer Shirley Murdock are headlining this year’s event.

Other performers on the bill include Rahsaan Barber, Shannon Williford (who’ll lead a tribute to the late Gregg Allman), Paula Chavis and Herchel Bailey, the son of local R&B artist DeFord Bailey Jr. and the grandson of DeFord Bailey, the first African-American Grand Ole Opry performer.

Saturday’s programming also includes a free Children’s Pavilion that will host live music from noon to 3 p.m., food vendors and family-friendly activities. General admission tickets are $20 in advance, $25 at the gate. VIP passes and weekend packages are also available.

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17th annual Jefferson Street Jazz and Blues Festival kicks off tonight

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