Detroit Jazz Festival returns to virtual performances Labor Day weekend

Charles E. Ramirez
The Detroit News

The Detroit Jazz Festival will be held virtually instead of in-person as initially announced, organizers said Tuesday.

The event, which boasts being the world's largest free jazz festival, will be held Friday, Sept. 3 through Monday, Sept. 6. 

The 2021 Detroit Jazz Festival Artist-in-Residence Dee Dee Bridgewater, pictured here at a performance at the 2017 festival, is also the event's headliner.

However, it will be held without audiences and streamed or broadcasted live and free from indoor sound stages at the Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center. More details will be announced at a later date, officials said.

In June, organizers announced the festival would return this year in an in-person format after it was held virtually last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

They said the switch this year from an in-person format to a virtual one was made for a number of reasons, including construction at Hart Plaza — where one of the festival's stages was to be located; the event's inability to require COVID-19 testing results or request proof of vaccination; and safety concern among some artists.

"This is a winning solution that preserves the legacy of the Detroit Jazz Festival while bringing amazing performances into a virtual format," Chris Collins, Detroit Jazz Festival Foundation president and artistic director, said in a statement. "We’re thankful for our sponsors, donors and patrons for their support which enables us to once again provide a jazz festival that is safe, live and free for everyone.

"Also, a special thank you to the city of Detroit for the great improvements happening at Hart Plaza which will make the 2022 Detroit Jazz Festival even better along with many other events held at this venue."

Twitter: @CharlesERamirez