The East Coast’s largest free Jazz fest will feature R&B singer-songwriter Brian McKnight, Cuban Jazz icon Arturo Sandoval, Wilmington natives Ernie Watts and Sara Lazarus, and more.
And to celebrate the 30th year anniversary, Tina Betz, the City’s Acting Cultural Affairs Director, says the festival will extend beyond the main stage area on Rodney Square, with several community events held around the city.
These start with some of Duke Ellington’s Sacred Concerts at the Episcopal Church of Sts. Andrew and Matthew.
“Then we’re going to be doing a community concert over in Clifford Brown listening garden that’s located just a few blocks from Clifford Brown’s childhood home,” said Betz. “And then we’re doing a special presentation at Theater N that will talk about the intersection of hip-hop and jazz.”
Betz has been an organizer of the festival since it began.
“Because Wilmington has such deep roots in jazz, it was called Jazzin’ on the Square,” she said.
The name was later changed, as a result of community advocacy, to honor jazz trumpeter and Wilmingtonian Clifford Brown, who died in 1956 at the age of 25.
Betz says the festival has always been free.
“It’s really important for the arts not to have any barriers at all. And no matter what price point you put on an activity, it has the possibility to being too expensive for somebody.”
Betz notes corporate sponsorship, such as that of Dupont, has helped keep the festival free.
The Festival’s main concerts and events will be June 20 through 23 on Rodney Square.
Delaware Public Media' s arts coverage is made possible, in part, by support from the Delaware Division of the Arts, a state agency dedicated to nurturing and supporting the arts in Delaware, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts.