The sounds of large crowds and live music will trumpet from the gardens of the Santa Barbara Court House this weekend, as the city celebrates its Eighth Annual Santa Barbara Festival of Art and Jazz.

The festival begins tonight at 5 and will continue until 6 p.m. Sunday and is expected to draw over 8,000 people, said Jonathan King, the spokesperson for the event. The weekend-long festivities – which benefit the Santa Barbara Art Association, the Performing Arts League and the Jazz Society – will feature jazz music and art by over 75 local and national artists and costs $10 for admission. Net proceeds from the event, King said, will be split between the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund and Direct Relief International.

Stephen Millard, president and CEO of Main Events International – the company coordinating the event – said the festival cost approximately $80,000 to host. He said his company covers the expenses out-of-pocket and said he hopes to raise between $5,000 and $10,000 for charity this year.

“We are pleased to be able to assemble such a fine group of artists and jazz musicians for the public’s enjoyment, while benefiting several local visual and performing arts associations and disaster relief organizations,” Millard said.

Santa Barbara Art Association board member Bob Rowley said 50 artists submitted their work for display at the festival and said the association chose to feature the work of 42 of those artists. Among those chosen was UCSB computer science graduate student Kambiz Aghili, who will have two photos exhibited at the event.

Aghili said his photographs, titled, “Falling” and “In Between,” are part of his larger collection, “Silent Walls.” He said he is excited at the opportunity to participate in this year’s festival.

“I’m looking forward to getting the privilege of talking to people about my work, and getting to watch people, because that is part of my passion in photography,” Aghili said.

Rowley said past participation in the festival has been beneficial for the association, which has participated in the event for the last two years, and said the festival helps the association foster the public’s interest in local art.

“A large part of the association’s mission is the public education of art, and this allows our artists to get their work into the public eye,” Rowley said.

Southern California jazz ensemble Soul City Survivors, which is scheduled to play at 8 tonight, will perform for it’s fifth time in the festival, band manager Winfield Pickett said. Pickett said the local atmosphere of the event is what draws the band back each year.

“It is truly a Santa Barbara-grown event,” Pickett said. “The food is phenomenal; the wine selection is phenomenal. It’s down-home and wonderful.”