Black Meetings and Tourism

May/June 2014

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13 B M & T ••• May/June 2014 ••• what I do. I plan things for folks coming to the area. Whatever they want to do, I match them to that. If they want me to plan something for them and then they do it for themselves, it's a free service. If they'd like me to do all of the follow-up, it's a paid service at $100/hr., with a five-hour minimum. I would design everything for them from restaurant reserva- tions, to spa services to hotel reservations." For the best savings and the best the area has to offer, McMillan said it's best to contact about four to six months prior to visiting. "The farther away, the better prices I can get for you," said McMillan who has been at for four years. "We get a lot of visitors each year who love the area." None of the region's splendor is lost on smooth jazz artist Brian Culbertson. For the third year, Napa Valley i s the setting for Brian Culbertson's Napa Valley Jazz Getaway, a five-day musical event taking place at several venues, including the Jamieson Ranch Vineyards, and featuring some of the hottest artists in music. This year's event takes place June 11-15 and features an impressive lineup that includes: Eric Benet, Ohio Players, Lee Ritenour, Morris Day & The Time, Mavis Staples, Eric Darius, David Benoit, Average White Band, Dave Grusin, Earl Klugh, Keenen Ivory Wayans, Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Eric Marienthal, Michael Lington, Jazz in Pink featuring Gail Jhonson, Althea Rene & Karen Briggs and Cecil Ramirez. "I chose Napa because just driving around, the place is spectacular," said Culbertson. "If I didn't have any wine I'd still say this is spectacular. I picked Napa because when you say that to people th ey go, 'Oh, yeah, I want to go there.' It's the feeling and the lifestyle. It's unique. Anywhere I go I say I'm doing a jazz and wine festival. People want to hear jazz and drink wine already so if you add Napa, it's fan- tastic. It's perfect because noth- i n g was going on here jazz wise." The Napa Valley Jazz Getaway is an interactive lifestyle experience at which fans can share their passion for wine and jazz with the musicians while dining, during wine receptions and tastings, at autograph sessions and at casual post-concert 'hangs'. About 3,000 festival-goers from all over the nation are expected to flock to California wine country this year. "That's nothing for us," said McMillan, who had 'big fun' at the Getaway last year. "We 're used to hosting large groups. That's what we do – everyday. We have more than enough hotel rooms for 3,000 visitors. We welcome everyone." McMillan said gets more than 3-5 million visitors per year on the website. "From that number I help hundreds of visitors," said McMillan, who is looking forward to attending the Getaway again this year. "We get the most guests during harvest time because th ey want to see grapes on the vine. So August to October is a very busy time. We welcome guests all year long, we never close." Culbertson On Napa Valley Culbertson, who recently released his 14th album, Another Long Night Out, a reinterpretation of the debut disc, Long Night Out, describes Napa Valley and the Jamieson Ranch Vineyards as "magical." "Once people come and experience it, they will know exac tly what I mean by magical," said Culbertson. "Working with Brian Culbertson and Napa Valley Jazz Getaway helps fulfill one cornerstone of the core vision of the Jamieson Ranch experience: to bring light into people's lives through music, art and film," said Jamieson Ranch Vineyards President Bill Leigon. "Brian's music truly fills one's soul with light!" Culbertson, an Illinois native couldn't be more ecstatic about seeing his vision come to fruition. "I really envisioned a whole immersion into the Napa lifestyle," said Culbertson. "When you spend time up there it's about the broad feeling you have when you're there. It's about the wine, the scenery, the food and then you add the musical component and bring in all these jazz lovers. It was a perfect fit." According to Culbertson, he saw a void. "It was a no brainer," he said. "I could- n't believe no one had done this before. The real light bulb went off in April 2011. I knew CHRISTINE MCMILLAN ERIC BENET

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