Let’s look at some of the ways that festivals organizations, working with government health officials, are bringing their events back this season. Most have reduced capacity, fewer stages, fewer artists, and shorter hours than in the past. Social distancing and other good-health protocols are the norm in most cases.
- Newport: In its online presence and press releases, the granddaddy of jazz festivals has been using the wording “Newport Jazz 2021” and “Newport Jazz Presents.” They’ve avoided calling this year’s July 30-August 1 weekend “the Newport Jazz Festival” though many of us will continue to do so out of habit or tradition. The rationale: they have limited attendance to 60% of the usual 10,000 per-day capacity at Fort Adams State Park, dropped from four to two stages (the main Fort Stage and Quad Stage) and cut the number of acts from about 50 to twenty-something, so it may not feel the same as recent full-blown festivals. Headliners include Charles Lloyd, Kamasi Washington (replacing Wynton Marsalis on the bill), Mavis Staples, Trombone Shorty, artist-in-residence Robert Glasper, Terri Lyne Carrington + Social Science, Ledisi’s Nina Simone project, Chris Potter and Andra Day. There will be no Friday night event at the International Tennis Hall of Fame. The Newport Jazz Festival expects to return to its full scale in 2022.
- Freihofer’s Jazz
Festival: This event at the Saratoga Performing
Arts Center in Saratoga Springs NY usually has a lawn full of people, two
stages (the ampitheater and the more-intimate daytime gazebo stage up the hill.
This time out, June 26-27, the festival has reduced its hours and cut the
lineup to four bands per day, all on the main stage. With capacity limited to about 30 percent inside the 5,200-seat shed, about 200 of the 3,400 unused fixed seats
are being removed to create more access points - so people don’t have to crawl
over each other to get to their assigned seats. Socially distanced “pods” are
being marked for the lawn seating. Dianne Reeves, Christian
McBride’s New Jawn, Joey Alexander and
Hot Club of Saratoga perform on Saturday; Cécile
McLorin Salvant, Al Di Meola, the
all-woman superband Artemis and Garland Nelson’s Joyful Noise on Sunday.
- Telluride Jazz
This longstanding festival in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains runs August 13-15.
There will be a “hybrid venue” layout in Telluride Town Park – with socially
distanced pods for those who want them, as well as general open area for those
who feel comfortable with it. Organizers are maintaining the full attendance
capacity of past years – by doubling the size of the site space. This
year’s headliners include Robert Glasper, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band and
Terri Lyne Carrington
- Labor Day Weekend: There will be no Chicago Jazz Festival in Grant Park this year. Bouncing back from last year's streamed event to remote viewers, the Detroit International Jazz Festival's 2021 event planned to have live audiences, but planners decided in mid-August to revert to another streaming event. The lineup includes Dee Dee Bridgewater, Herbie Hancock, Kenny Barron, Abdullah Ibrahim, Gregory Porter, Anat Cohen, Sean Jones, Kenny Garrett, and The Brubeck Brothers.
- Monterey Jazz Festival: There will be a greatly reduced footprint for this popular September 24-26 northern California event at the Monterey County Fairgrounds. Instead of eight stages scattered throughout the 20-acre site, performances will be limited to the main stage, the Jimmy Lyons Stage in the Arena, with a 50% audience capacity. Headliners include George Benson, Herbie Hancock, Terri Lyne Carrington + Social Science, artist-in-residence Christian Sands, and Pat Metheny’s Side-Eye project.
- New Orleans
: Shifts from spring to fal and offl.The French Quarter Festival and the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival moved from their traditional late spring schedules to the fall, but then canceled them again in early August because of COVID-19 flareups. April-early May weekends to an October 8-17 schedule. No details have been announced yet on its lineup, staging and any capacity changes at JazzFest’s sprawling 75-acre Fairgrounds Race Track site. Satchmo SummerFest, scheduled July 31-August 1, established capacity limits and requires attendee registration in advance or before entering the gates..
New Orleans #1