40th Savannah Jazz Festival announces 2021 venue change

 In response to the City of Savannah’s immediate moratorium on large out-door events to mitigate the spread of COVID, the Savannah Jazz Festival has announced it will host its second consecutive s”afe Savannah Jazz Festival.” 

Organizers say the alternative venue, which will be at Savannah Station, is designed to meet the dual goals of presenting world-class jazz and blues free of charge to the City of Savannah while adhering to the guidelines of promoting the health and safety of our musicians, attendees, sponsors, and suppliers. 

Festival Director, Paula Fogarty said, “In our 2021 planning we’ve been vigilant in preparing for both the best-case and worst-case scenarios and have remained entirely sensitive to need for flexibility in planning publicly funded events during this pandemic. We will announce how the public can access free tickets (in limited numbers) over our website in the coming days. Our intent is to adhere to State, City, and CDC guidelines to ensure the health and safety of all people associated with the production of the event.” 

 Fogarty explains, “We were prepared for another wave of the COVID-19 virus and planned accordingly in partnership with the city in the early days of the creation of our contract with the City. We are 100% dedicated to delivering world-class blues and jazz music to the world. We will be moving to Savannah Station and offering raffle tickets soon for people to win tickets to our free festival to be fair to all. The number of tickets and seating is still to be determined so I encourage everyone to visit our website and our Savannah Jazz Festival Facebook and Instagram pages.”

Last year’s live-streamed festival reached over 175,000 people worldwide, delivering live performances to the widest audience in the festival’s history. 

“While the anticipation of a live festival this year has been greater than ever applaud and support the mayor’s decisions to try to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. We are ready to keep the music playing and encourage everyone to tune in or win tickets to the shows that will be available soon on savannahjazz.org.”

Organizers stress that with restricted attendance will come limited services, but attendees will still enjoy food trucks, a full bar, and world-class performances featuring several Grammy award-winning artists.

This year’s headliners include Grammy-award-winning, Charleston-based Ranky Tanky, accompanied by Savannah Jazz Hall of Fame member Quentin Baxter on drums. Their timeless music is born of the Gullah culture of this region’s Sea Islands. Their eponymously titled debut album soared to #1 on the Billboard, Amazon, and iTunes Jazz Charts.

Jazz bass legend, John Lee will appear with special guest, and Grammy-award-winning pianist, Lawrence Hobgood. Lee, a legendary American jazz bassist, and Grammy award-winning producer started his career in 1970 and he has worked with jazz legends including Dizzy Gillespie, Max Roach, Sonny Rollins, McCoy Tyner, James Moody, Aretha Franklin, Gregory Hines, among others.  

Hobgood’s CD “When the Heart Dances,” a duet recording with iconic bassist Charlie Haden, received worldwide acclaim earning 4-star reviews.


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