The music stopping at JazzFest

Local News

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — JazzFest is going on hiatus.

There won’t be a 2020 JazzFest concert, the Sioux Falls Jazz And Blues Society announced Friday. 

For 28 years, JazzFest has been a staple event at Yankton Trail Park during the summer in Sioux Falls. 

In 2019, JazzFest had a fair share of headaches as the lead band ‘Here Come the Mummies’ had to cancel because of an injury to their lead singer. Storm damage also delayed the festival on Saturday. Attendance at the 2019 event was listed at 45,000. 

Before the 2019 event, organizers told KELOLAND News they aim for 70,000 to 90,000 in attendance over the two-day event. 

JazzFest celebrated 25 years in July 2016. Over the years, acts like Joe Walsh, Sheryl Crow and The Fray headlined the event.

This is a developing story. Stay with KELOLAND News and for more coverage on-air and online.


The Sioux Falls Jazz & Blues Society is announcing an evolution of its programming in 2020 to focus on education. The non-profit organization, which was founded in 1987 on the mission to increase the awareness of jazz and blues music in the region, has worked toward this goal primarily through the JazzFest music festival for over 20 years. In 2020, the JazzFest event will be on hiatus, as the organization focuses its efforts and resources to educational efforts across the state.

“Live music performance has grown tremendously in Sioux Falls, and we are very proud to be a part of that. This growth, and other headwinds over the last few years including weather events, unforeseen artist cancellations, and increasing expenses cause us to pause and evaluate the model for the festival that we remain committed to in the future.  With this, the Board of Sioux Falls Jazz and Blues Society will assess our organization and programming, including JazzFest, as we grow into 2021,” said Beth Ormseth, President, Board of Directors, Sioux Falls Jazz and Blues Society.

“Education has been at the core of why we do what we do, and we’re thankful that JazzFest, among other fundraising efforts, has afforded us the ability to provide our educational programming for the last 20 years. Festival revenues have declined, and that has been a catalyst for us to channel our mission toward all the other great things we do, including raising music appreciation and education for our youth and younger audiences,” she said.

The Sioux Falls Jazz and Blues Society not only plans to continue its growth in educational programming across the state, but also to expand to neighboring communities outside South Dakota who have supported the organization over the last two decades.

“The Sioux Falls Jazz and Blues Society is larger than one annual event, and we want to let our patrons know that we’re carrying forward their love for jazz and blues to our younger audiences with full rigor. Our work is to expand the reach of our mission — especially to groups and communities that can benefit from it the most,” said Ormseth.

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