SIOUX FALLS, SD (KELO) — Jazz and blues are making a comeback in Sioux Falls this summer. The Sioux Falls Jazz & Blues Society is hosting Jazz and Blues Week from July 10th through the 18th. The live performances will fill a musical void left in the aftermath of the pandemic.
Nationally-known performers took center stage during JazzFest, which drew thousands of fans to Yankton Trail Park every year. But the pandemic and growing expenses put an end to the free outdoor concerts last year. Now the Jazz and Blues Society is switching to a smaller scale in order to bring the music back to Sioux Falls this summer.
“The whole organization’s business model is completely changed. It’s a learning experience for me in figuring out what does and doesn’t work,” Sioux Falls Jazz & Blues Society Executive Director Alex Gilbert-Schrag said.
Jazz and Blues Week will be a sonic showcase for local musicians like Joel Shotwell.
“It’s just a good way to open people’s eyes back up after everybody being closed off to how wonderful our music scene is here, because it is really, really good,” Shotwell said.
Organizers are hoping COVID-19 will be less of a concern in Sioux Falls by the time Jazz and Blues Week rolls around in July.
“Even 2-3 months ago, we didn’t know what the status was going to be with vaccinations and people’s comfort levels and so planning anything really big with a lot of financial risk didn’t seem like the most business-savvy decision right now,” Gilbert-Schrag said.
Organizers aren’t ruling out an eventual return to festival-style concerts like JazzFest. But for now, they’re going with a week’s worth of smaller venues, hoping fans of jazz and blues are ready to soak-in the sounds.
Jazz and Blues Week also takes place at the same time as Jazz Camp, a day camp that offers lessons to young musicians in grades 9-12.
To see a full schedule of Jazz and Blues Week events, click here