NEPA Scene Staff

Scranton Jazz Festival returns as free multi-venue event downtown on Aug. 6-8

Scranton Jazz Festival returns as free multi-venue event downtown on Aug. 6-8
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From a press release:

All of downtown Scranton will serve as center stage when the award-winning Scranton Jazz Festival returns to the Electric City on Friday, Aug. 6 through Sunday, Aug. 8.

The festival was canceled in 2020 due to the pandemic, but now that state health and safety restrictions have been lifted, it’s time to experience live music on a larger scale once again. The 16th annual event features a new format that is reminiscent of a New Orleans-style festival. Instead of utilizing one large main stage, performances will be held in multiple venues throughout the downtown area.

With national, regional, and local musicians, Scranton Jazz Fest fans will still enjoy the extensive variety and unique experience they have grown to expect and love. A fireworks display presented by Scranton Tomorrow and Lackawanna County will add to the celebration when it launches from the Electric City Garage (300 Spruce St., Scranton) on Saturday, Aug. 7 at 9 p.m.

The SJF will also provide a much-needed economic boost for musicians, many of whom haven’t worked in more than a year, and support local businesses. While enjoying performances by accomplished jazz, blues, and world beat musicians, visitors to downtown Scranton are encouraged to explore the many restaurants, pubs, and cafés in the business district. So many establishments struggled financially in 2020, so these homegrown establishments will benefit from the extra foot traffic generated by the festival.

The SJF has garnered international recognition, and has been mentioned in U.S. News and World Report, for the cultural diversity and integrity it has brought to the region. In celebration of its triumphant return, admission is free and tickets are not required this year.

Everyone is invited to enjoy live music in more than 20 downtown venues all weekend from artists like King Solomon Hicks, The Bog Swing Group, Indigo Moon Brass Band, The Merchants of Groove, the Marko Marcinko Latin Jazz Quintet, the Jacob Cole Trio, Roy Williams, Young Lion, the Justin Padro Trio, the Marywood Jazz Ambassadors, Bill Goodwin, Mike Fahn, Chris Rogers, Chuck Redd, Norman Taylor, Ilona Knopfler, John Hart, Adam Nussbaum, Jim Ridl, the Tom Kozic Trio, Keep Out Brass Band, Spencer and Nancy Reed, Nate Birkey & Friends, La Cuccina, Bill Carter & Presbybop, and the PA Jazz Institute Student Ensemble.

Participating venues include Adezzo, AV Restaurant, Backyard Ale House, Bar Pazzo, The Bog, Commonwealth Coffee, The Garden Mediterranean Cafe, the Hilton Scranton & Conference Center, Lavish, The Marketplace at Steamtown, Northern Light Espresso Bar, Osaka, Peculiar Kitchen/The Giving Tree, PJ’s Pub, Posh, The Railyard, Recovery Bank, the Renaissance at 500, The Ritz Theater, and Trax Bar + Kitchen and Carmen’s Restaurant at the Radisson Lackawanna Station Hotel.

The Scranton Jazz Festival began in 2005 at the Hanlon’s Grove Amphitheatre at Nay Aug Park in Scranton. After a major snowstorm damaged the facility in 2007, the festival’s organizers moved the event to the historic Radisson Lackawanna Station Hotel in downtown Scranton, where it has become a permanent fixture on the Northeastern Pennsylvania arts and culture scene and attracted thousands of visitors over the years. Scranton has had a rich history in jazz dating back to the 1930s where jazz legends Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey performed regularly with the famous Scranton Sirens Jazz Band.

The area is also credited with hosting the first known recorded jazz festival, “The Cavalcade of Dixieland Jazz,” in 1951. Since its premiere 16 years ago, Scranton Jazz Fest has drawn audiences from the entire Mid-Atlantic region, resulting in tremendous notoriety and exposure to the international jazz world and reviving the region as a cultural epicenter, no different than famous festivals in Newport, Rhode Island; Saratoga Springs, Florida; and Monterey, California.

The SJF carries on this rich tradition while becoming a recognized contributor to the world of jazz, blues, and world beat music in its own right. It is the hope and desire of everyone involved that the festival will continue for decades to come.

For more information about the 16th annual Scranton Jazz Festival, a schedule of performances, and more about the festival’s 2021 approach, visit scrantonjazzfestival.org and follow Scranton Jazz Festival on social media.

The festival is made possible through partnerships with Blu Elefante, the city of Scranton, First Friday Scranton, Lackawanna County, and Scranton Tomorrow, as well as the support of sponsors and media partners.

Photo of Justin Padro Latin Jazz Ensemble by Rich Howells/NEPA Scene