Chicago Jazz, Blues Fests on Hiatus for 2021


The Jay Pritzker Pavilion at Millennium Park, home of the Chicago Jazz Festival.


The City of Chicago has announced that its annual jazz and blues festivals will not be held for 2021, according to a press release from Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s office.

Under the heading of “Open Culture” as part of the mayor’s Open Chicago plan, the city will highlight Chicago’s rich jazz and blues scenes in a different way this year.

Vestiges of the pandemic will certainly leave music fans wanting a lot more as two longtime traditions — the Chicago Jazz Festival, which was the first city festival when it began in 1974, and the Chicago Blues Festival, started in 1984 — are put on hiatus this summer.

Instead of three days of festival concerts, each musical genre will receive three hours of programming, with an evening of jazz getting a 5:30–8:30 p.m. slot on Sept. 4 at Millennium Park’s Jay Pritzker Pavilion. Blues will get the spotlight 5:30–8:30 p.m. on Sept. 18.

“Despite the unimaginable challenges that were thrown our way last year, we were still able to persist and come together to slow and stop the spread of this virus and put our city on the right path toward a safe reopening,” Lightfoot said. “Open Chicago — including Open Parks, Open Streets and now, Open Culture — is not only the direct result of these efforts, but it also serves as the latest step in our mission to fully restore a sense of normalcy within our city by bringing back and reimagining some of our favorite summer- and fall-time activities.”

Even so, there will be actual jazz festivals taking place this summer in the Second City. The Jazz Institute of Chicago will present the Chicago Latin Jazz Festival on July 23–24. And The Hyde Park Jazz Festival is scheduled for Sept. 25–26.

Here’s hoping both will return in full force in 2022. DB

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