Savannah-Safe Jazz Festival alternative plan approved

Savannah Jazz Festival

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — One of the region’s most beloved cultural events is shifting gears this year to keep artists and attendees safe from COVID-19.

Savannah City Council has approved the Savannah Jazz Festival’s alternative plan to livestream the event to audiences for free and allow a select number of people to watch the performances live.

A limited number of community members will be eligible to attend in-person through a lottery system. Audiences of 50 will be rotated through the Ships of the Sea Maritime Museum to see the live jazz when they aren’t watching from the comfort of their homes.

Organizers say they hope the 16 live broadcasts of the event will reach more than 500,000 people virtually.

“Nothing lifts spirits or soothes people more than really great music,” Interim Executive Director Paula Fogarty said. “So we will be able to bring this event to not only the normal 50,000 people we usually reach in person but to potentially hundreds of thousands of people worldwide.”

Fogarty says that even though they can’t have the same live audience size as they’ve had in previous years, it’s still important to give musicians a chance to play during these times when many artists are out of work.

The performances will feature American gospel, blues and jazz music. The lineup of musicians performing will be released next week.

The Savannah-Safe Jazz Festival will be held from Sept. 24 to 27 and will be compliant with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines: You can participate in the festival at:

  • Ships of the Sea Maritime Museum will host socially-distanced seating for a small studio audience of community members, supporters, and city leaders.
  • Livestream of the performances will be available on WSAV News 3 On Your Side, Dick Broadcasting Radio, Facebook, and YouTube.
  • Watch parties will be held in local bars, restaurants, community centers and churches.

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