(INDIANAPOLIS) — The 22nd Indy Jazz Fest begins Friday night, with the pandemic bringing a different format.
Jazz Fest is virtual this year. The festival will stream performances this weekend and next on its website, and on YouTube and Facebook.
Jared Thompson with the quartet Premium Blend says the virtual format is a challenge. Without the a live audience to feed off, the musicians have to find that energy themselves. But he says it’s been good to have the festival to focus on after the pandemic wiped out a chunk of the summer performance schedule.
Premium Blend will close the festival next Sunday with six pieces interspersed with filmed interviews exploring how racism affects Indianapolis today. The hip-hop/jazz trio Native Sun will tackle similar ground with a set addressing the Black Lives Matter movement and the debate over police use of force.
The program also includes a Kurt Vonnegut-inspired set by guitarist Charlie Ballantine.