Denton Arts & Jazz Festival Returns
In first weekend of October this fall, the Denton Arts and Jazz Festival was held after an absence of 18 months and several postponements due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. Normally held in April, the festival became a fall event for 2021, so to not keep jazz lovers waiting another six months for the festival’s return. There was a genuine worry that rain might interfere with the festival, but the sun came out and all the bands performed as planned with beautiful weather.
As was normal before the Pandemic, 60 AFM bands performed on three of the festival’s open air stages throughout the festival and were co-sponsored by The Recording Industry’s Music Performance Trust Fund (MPTF). For years MPTF has provided sponsorship of the Denton festival as well as the Main Street Fort Worth Arts Festival, which both normally take place in the spring. In recent years, we have also been able to collaborate with Klyde Warren Park in Downtown Dallas with MPTF support, most notably with its hugely successful Memorial Day Music Festival.
Between the spring of 2020 and the summer of 2021, with the cancellation of nearly all live performance, MPTF as a pandemic measure, worked with the AFM to provide 100% funding for live-streamed performances, where gathering live audiences was not possible. Throughout this period Local 72-147 worked with venues willing to host performances in this way. Steve’s Wine Bar in Denton, Shipping & Receiving Bar in Fort Worth, Klyde Warren Park in Dallas, among others generously provided space for nearly 130 performances between September 2020 and July 2021, providing needed engagements for Local 72-147 musicians.
With the return of the Denton Arts and Jazz Festival, the transition to normal live performances has begun. The festival largely came off normally, but with COVID-19 precautions. There was increased social distancing at the festival with booths more widely spaced, touchless pay, virtual programs, no indoor stage, and masking and separation from musicians in the only indoor space where performances took place.
“It’s always wonderful for our musicians to be featured and come together with MPTF support, but this year’s Denton Arts and Jazz Festival brought with it a sense of hope and renewal, especially meaningful for today,” said Local 72-147 President Stewart Williams.
MPTF will continue to fund these and other events, as new revenue streams to the Fund has been negotiated and increased in AFM media agreements. Preparations are underway for the return of the Main Street Fort Worth Arts Festival, now scheduled for April 7-10, 2022. The next Denton Arts and Jazz Festival is now planned for October 7-9, 2022.