WASHINGTON PARK — The Bronzeville Jazz and Music Fest is back after going virtual last year due to COVID-19, but fans can expect a few changes when they attend the Saturday event.
Masks will be required and social distancing will be enforced, said host Sandra Bivens, who also serves as executive director of 51st Street Business Association.
While onsite food and drink vendors will not be returning this year out of an abundance of caution due to the pandemic, the organizers are urging attendees to patronize nearby restaurants and will have a QR code they can scan to place orders, which will be delivered to the table at the festival entrance.
Bivens said the fest is one of Bronzeville’s most anticipated events, with performers around the world coming to grace the stage.
“The jazz fest gives people a sense of community,” she said. “People in the area are really enthusiastic about it … when we held the first one [seven years ago] people couldn’t stop talking about it because they’d never seen anything like this here.”
Sponsored by the city’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, the fest draws a few hundred people each year. It originally began as a back-to-school event, giving away backpacks and other school supplies to neighborhood children. This year, in addition to the giveaway there will be a Unity Concert 10 a.m.-2 p.m. with special programs for kids and teens hosted by the H.O.Y.C.E Youth Center.
Among this year’s performers are vocalists Maggie and Africa Brown, daughters of legend Oscar Brown Jr.; Jeremiah Collier and the REUP; and Robert Irving III, who has composed and arranged music for Miles Davis and Ramsey Lewis.
The free event runs 10 a.m.-10 p.m. at the intersection of 51st Street and King Drive. Attendees are encouraged to bring chairs.
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