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Arts & Culture

After COVID Hiatus, Greater Hartford Festival Of Jazz Returns This Summer

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Greater Hartford Festival of Jazz
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The Nat Reeves Experience performs at the 2019 Greater Hartford Festival of Jazz. The festival was canceled in 2020 due to COVID safety precautions.

The Greater Hartford Festival of Jazz will return to Bushnell Park this summer. The festival, which draws upwards of 50,000 people each year, was silenced in 2020 due to COVID safety precautions. Now, with the easing of restrictions, Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin said the festival and other arts and culture events are back this summer. Bronin says the impact events like the jazz festival have on Hartford is more than just economic.

“For our city it is a spiritual impact, it is an emotional impact. It’s one of those festivals that when you go you just can’t help falling in love with Hartford,” said Bronin.

At a news conference Tuesday on Ann Street, Bronin touted a number of initiatives designed to bring people back to Hartford this summer. “We are going to continue with the street closures that we started last summer during the pandemic to make it a little bit easier for our businesses,” said Bronin.

“It’s a lot of fun to be outside on a beautiful summer night with friends, eating and drinking and having a good time.”

Bronin mentioned that Pratt Street will be a hub of activity this summer.

“Pratt Street is one of those streets we shut down, and there are a lot of great businesses and restaurants there,” said Bronin. “But it’s a street where we have done a lot to activate with music, with lots of things that brought a lot of people there, and that is going to continue more than ever.”

Bronin said the downtown festivals and summer events will be modified if need be to comply with CDC guidelines for safety.

The Greater Hartford Arts Council announced Tuesday that Hartford will participate in Make Music Day 2021, a day of live music performances at various venues across the city. The worldwide event coincides with the summer solstice.

The Greater Hartford Festival of Jazz is free and gets underway Friday night, July 16, with a performance by the Dennis Edwards’ Temptations Revue.

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