Whoever created the myth that 13 was an unlucky number didn’t have the Hyde Park Jazz Festival in mind. There will be 13 venues and 13 free hours of jazz from 1 p.m. to 2 a.m. with 20,000 jazz lovers on Sat., Sept. 25 for the fourth annual Hyde Park Jazz Festival.
The first Hyde Park Alliance for Arts & Culture’s (HyPa) event had 5,000 people and the numbers continued to increase, including tripling the amount of volunteers who join for the love of jazz music. This year, they’re partnering with the World Music Festival and featuring more diverse entertainment, including a salsa group called La Excelencia and a few Brazilian and Latin Jazz groups, in addition to returning artists from 2009 and in the 2010 lineup.
“Our director of jazz programming Carolyn Albritton has a great relationship with a lot of the musicians,” said Deanna Shoss, Festival Manager for the Hyde Park Jazz Festival. “So we end up putting together these groups of people who maybe don’t necessarily perform together all the time for these fantastic presentations.”
This year, there will be a presentation in honor of soul artist Ray Charles and a jam session at the International House at the end of the night. Couples and singles mingle while listening to jazz from as many groups as they like.
“It’s also a great place to get a hook-up,” Shoss joked, referring to the Examiner entry “Top 10 Kissing Spots in Chicago.”
For those who aren’t going with their significant others or on a date, jazz loving parents can also bring their children for family entertainment.
“Something else new we’re doing this year is we’re having a family programming tent among the vendors on the Midway [Plaisance],” said Shoss. “It’s an instrument petting zoo from the Suzuki Institute. We’ve got an interactive program with music by Marsha. We’re teaching people formal dance with the Hyde Park School of Dance.”
The main stage will be on the Midway Plaisance, and there will be a few food vendors available to the public in between Ellis and Woodlawn. HyPa also encourages people to visit eateries in the
Hyde Park area. One of the restaurants, Mellow Yellow, will stay open until 4 a.m. to give the late-night musicians and guests a chance to purchase food.
Irene Sherr, the Executive Director and founder of HyPa, confirmed that not all artists who have performed in the Passport to Jazz events from February to August will be at the Hyde Park Jazz Festival in September. Other jazz artists who didn’t perform at the yearlong events will be in attendance at the 2010 Hyde Park Jazz Festival. To find out who’s performing, visit HydeParkJazzFestival.org.
There will be free parking in the University of Chicago parking lots, shuttles and the locations are accessible by public transportation. The biggest shuttle lot will be at the corner of 55th and Ellis.
Volunteers can sign up until the deadline date of Fri., Sept. 10. They’ll get a free Hyde Park Jazz Festival T-shirt and Potbelly cookies, see the performances from their assigned location and experience the behind-the-scenes action before the jazz artists perform. HyPa has approximately 300 volunteers ranging from Hyde Park residents to Wisconsin residents, who will be at all of the venues for information about the events, directions and to seat the Jazz Pass holders.
According to Sherr, 15 guests who attended at least five of the yearlong events earned the Jazz Passes that give them preferred seating to select indoor venues. Others who are interested in purchasing a Jazz Pass can do so with a $125 donation to HyPa. For Jazz Pass holders at crowded venues, HyPa provides individual seats set aside if the preferred seating is filled. Passport holders must arrive at least 10 minutes before a performance to take advantage of that perk though. All other guests are welcome to sit in the unreserved seating areas free of charge.
Festival visitors are welcome to bring blankets and lawn chairs for outside events although there will be seats available. Depending on the weather, umbrellas are suggested, too. Although food and drinks are allowed, there will be restaurants and food vendors from walking distance.
“The whole reason the festival started originally was to do a couple things,” said Shoss. “To put Hyde Park on the map for a destination to the artists, and the idea is to build year-round audiences for the arts. What we’re hoping is that people will have an amazing, wonderful and fun experience at the Jazz Festival but that maybe they’ll go into the Robie House, where they haven’t been before, or maybe they’ll go into Little Black Pearl or the Smart Museum. We’re hoping that people will start engaging with Hyde Park more deeply as a destination for arts, for restaurants, for events year round.”
For more info:
2010 Hyde Park Jazz Festival
Hyde Park Art Center
HyPa 2010 Calendar of events
HyPa Passport to Jazz
Jazz Pass donation purchase
Additional HyPa events:
“2010 Hyde Park Jazz Fest performances at Midway Plaisance, Hyde Park Art Center”
“Alumni weekend at University of Chicago, four jazz events to go before 2010 Hyde Park Jazz Fest“
“Cerqua Rivera Dance Theatre and Reginald Robinson perform Jubilation 2010, HyPa jazz event”
“Corey Wilkes Quartet bring funk, jazz and soul to HyPa jazz event at Smart Museum of Art”
“Eric Schneider’s Hot Dixieland Quartet performs at The Oriental Institute for HyPa jazz event“
“Hyde Park Art Center has ‘Cocktails and Clay’ HyPa event with Frank Russell Trio“
“Jazz lovers visited Hyde Park for ‘Smart Sounds featuring Julia Huff’ at 16th HyPa event“
“Nicole Mitchell and Little Black Pearl artists at HyPa event, ‘Intergalactic Beings’ pre-performance“
“Pianist Reginald Robinson brings ragtime to the Oriental Institute for HyPa event“
“Saxophonist Eddie Johnson’s memory honored by Chicago Jazz Orchestra at HyPa event“
2009 Hyde Park Jazz Festival blogs:
“Accidental jazz fan”
“Top 10 kissing spots in Chicago”