The 2020 Freihofer’s Saratoga Jazz Festival has been canceled due to COVID-19, the Saratoga Performing Arts Center announced on Monday.
The Jazz Festival, which was scheduled for June 27-28, was slated to include performances by Nile Rodgers & CHIC, Kool & the Gang, Cassandra Wilson and several local artists.
“After 42 consecutive years presenting one of the most exceptional jazz festivals in North America, to have to cancel the 2020 Festival is both heartbreaking and devastating. The loss of this event as an exuberant gathering of jazz-lovers is deeply painful – and the economic impact to SPAC, the community, and the many artists who were to perform is incalculable,” said Elizabeth Sobol, president and CEO of SPAC, in a statement.
In place of the regularly scheduled festival, SPAC is teaming up with Caffe Lena to present “Freihoffer’s Jazz Fest Stay Home Sessions.” A series of live-streamed performances will take place over June 27-28. Groups of no more than three musicians will assemble on Caffe Lena’s stage throughout the weekend so that safety guidelines will be followed, according to a statement from SPAC.
The performance schedule will be announced in the coming weeks.
“The cancellation of the Freihofer’s Saratoga Jazz Festival is heartbreaking to us, the artists, the production crew and our dedicated audience but within the larger context of what we are dealing with personally, nationally and globally, is something we can ‘manage,’” said Danny Melnick, the festival producer and President of Absolutely Live Entertainment. “This festival began in 1978 and has been the longest continuously running jazz festival in the northeastern part of North America. We are working to create an online ‘festival’ experience and looking forward to returning to ’The Hang’ in 2021.”
SPAC also announced an initiative to donate two tickets to first responders and local health care workers for performances during its 2021 season for every ticketholder of the 2020 festival who chooses to convert all or a minimum of $25 of their ticket purchase into a donation.
For refunds or donations visit spac.org.