Updates to International Jazz Day, April 30

COVID-19 pandemic necessitates changes to 9th annual worldwide celebration of jazz

Call for artists and fans around the world to self-create video messages to be streamed worldwide on International Jazz Day

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Due to ongoing concerns about the spread of the coronavirus, the International Jazz Day 2020 Global Host Celebration in Cape Town and other cities across South Africa, including the All-Star Global Concert on April 30, will not take place as scheduled. This decision has been undertaken in response to guidance issued by government and public health officials in South Africa and reflects the high priority that the Institute, its partners and local organizers place on the health and safety of all participating musicians, staff, affiliates and the public.

International Jazz Day would not be possible without the thousands of independent organizers around the world who faithfully help bring the message of this unique music into their communities each year on April 30. We strongly encourage our partners to follow all local public health directives and government guidelines when considering whether to go ahead with an International Jazz Day program. Many partners have already rescheduled their programs for a later date, pending the abatement of the current global pandemic. These postponed events will be gratefully recognized as official celebrations of International Jazz Day.

For over a century, jazz has been a unifying force, rallying people around the world through the universal language of music regardless of the distance between them. With this in mind, International Jazz Day will still go forward on April 30. Though large-scale public concerts, colloquia and other gatherings that have for nearly a decade been a hallmark of this celebration, this year we are encouraging organizers to minimize viral transmission by celebrating at home. Resources, information and ideas for celebrating can be found at jazzday.com.

To allow our amazing community of jazz lovers, students and local International Jazz Day leaders a special opportunity to connect with each other, on April 30, the Institute and its partners will be organizing a virtual forum featuring acclaimed artists and webcasts of exclusive content, offered free of charge. Further details will be announced in the coming weeks.

The Institute extends a special invitation to all of its partners to submit smartphone videos, audio recordings and other virtual expressions of participation to show solidarity with everyone affected by this challenging situation. Submissions will be featured in a free live stream available worldwide as part of the virtual programming on April 30.

Herbie Hancock, UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for Intercultural Dialogue and Co-Chair of International Jazz Day, said, “These are unprecedented times for world citizens and we are most grateful for the support, understanding, and partnership of our Jazz Day community. Armed with optimism, patience and grace, we’ll work through these challenges as families, communities, countries and as a stronger united world. Now more than ever before, let’s band together and spread the ethics of Jazz Day’s global movement around the planet and use this as a golden opportunity for humankind to reconnect especially in the midst of all this isolation and uncertainty.”

Our deep gratitude and appreciation go to the South African Department of Sports, Arts and Culture; South African Tourism; the South African National Commission for UNESCO; the City of Cape Town, the SPIN Foundation; the many local partners and community leaders in South Africa; and the worldwide International Jazz Day community for their efforts in support of International Jazz Day 2020.

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