Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin on Tuesday announced the return of an event that is expected to draw tens of thousands to Bushnell Park this July. The Greater Hartford Festival of Jazz is happening.
In 1991, the first Greater Hartford Festival of Jazz (GHFJ) was held. Since then, it has become the largest free jazz event in New England. Now, after a year of being virtual, it’s returning in-person.
The 2019 Greater Hartford Festival of Jazz drew had an estimated attendance of 70,000 people over three days. Those crowds could be returning July 16 through the 18. A collection of artists will be singing the blues, and people are looking forward to it.
“The mood, the vibe in the city, everything,” said Audrey Cherubin of Bloomfield, explaining how the event impacts the city.
Showcasing local and national acts, it will be headlined by The Dennis Edwards Temptations Review. Organizers say there is also an underlying theme.
“The Greater Hartford Festival of Jazz is a time for hope. Getting everybody together, uniting people through music,” said GHFJ Marketing Director Tiana Correa.
As for safety measures, Bronin says they will be monitoring the virus data leading into the event but right now feels the city’s safety metrics are in a good place.
“The rollout of the vaccination effort and the fact these events are outdoors,” she said, explaining why they feel confident moving forward.
While the event has a significant economic impact, the mayor says the emotional boost is not to be overlooked and people seem to agree.
“Getting people together and creating a sense of community in the downtown, I think that’s all important,” said Alexis Augsberger of Riverton.
That sense of community extends to the artist as well, giving them the platform to once again perform live.
During Tuesday's announcement, Bronin was upbeat and looking forward to further re-opening. He said there will be other announcements coming soon, regarding other free summer festivals in the city.