Spenard Jazz Fest, Anchorage’s beloved, home-grown music festival, kicks off its 13th season this Saturday, May 16, with its Hunker Down Edition opening night extravaganza live-streamed on Facebook. This year’s all-online festival will showcase local, national and international musicians online ‒ streaming live performances, workshops, virtual house concerts and movies. It will also focus on raising funds for local venues and working musicians who have lost income due to the coronavirus pandemic through the Spenard Jazz Fest Covid-19 Relief Fund.
The festival, which runs May 16-June 7, is known for bringing some of the state’s most talented musicians to Anchorage for the chance to collaborate and share an eclectic mix of music, from jazz to folk to world, with the community.
“Shifting this year’s festival to an online format means we can reach a larger audience with a wider variety of performances,” said Spenard Jazz Fest Director Yngvil Vatn Guttu. “We’re proud to have a chance to celebrate with our community, provide paid work to musicians and raise funds for local venues that are struggling during this global pandemic.”
“Music is a cultural value and something that brings us all together. We need it now more than ever,” Vatn Guttu added.
Musicians performing online during the first week of the festival include Witty Youngman (Anchorage), The Creek Street Cabaret Players (Ketchikan), Karrie Pavish Anderson (Willow), Rick Zelinsky, Mark Manners, Yngvil Vatn Guttu, Stephen Blanchett (Juneau) and Paul Walde (CA). Celebrity guests from New York – Grammy Award winner Ingrid Jensen (with friends) and piano phenomenon Amina Figarova – will host workshops and perform during weeks two and three of the festival. Other events include virtual house concerts, live solo and double bill performances, Alaska music videos and the Hunker Down Dance Party.
This weekend’s events are free, with ticketed events throughout the first week starting as low as $10. Members receive free access to all public events (except house concert fundraisers) and all proceeds from the festival directly support local musicians. View the Spenard Jazz Fest Week 1 schedule here, donate to the Spenard Jazz Fest COVID-19 Relief Fund here or visit spenardjazzfest.org for more information.
2020 Spenard Jazz Fest sponsors include 49th State Brewing Co, Alaska Public Media, Alaska State Council on the Arts, Anchorage Press, Atwood Foundation, Bear Tooth Theatre Pub, Bosco's, Both Ears Audio, Charlou, Cook Inlet Housing Authority, International Jazz Day (UNESCO), Jensen/Hall Creative, Koahnic Broadcasting Co - KNBA 90.3 FM, La Bodega, Municipality of Anchorage, Poetica Communications, Rasmuson Foundation, Scan Home, Spenard Chamber of Commerce, Spenard Farmers Market, Spenard Roadhouse and The Writer's Block Bookstore & Cafe.
The Spenard Jazz Fest is a program of Northern Culture Exchange, a non-profit organization whose mission is to put Alaskan creativity to work. The multi-disciplinary arts festival celebrates all musical genres and seeks to strengthen Alaska’s musician community. For more information and a schedule of events, visit spenardjazzfest.org.