Melbourne International Jazz Festival announces 2020 digital festival

Melbourne International Jazz Festival announces 2020 digital festival

Gretchen Parlato
Words by Tom Parker

The physical event was set to kick off next week.

On Friday May 29, the 23rd Melbourne International Jazz Festival (MIJF) was set to kick off featuring performances from more than 500 Australian and international artists across more than 25 venues.

But as a result of the current crisis, the festival has been forced to adapt quickly and will now present the much-anticipated event in an online format. Titled These Digital Times, the digital music festival series will feature performances from local and international artists on the last Saturday of May, June and July.

Live-streamed via the MIJF website straight to YouTube in high definition, the festival is completely free and will combine live performances from some of the biggest names in Australian and international jazz with career development panels for artists and industry professionals. Each event will kick off from 12pm and run until 10:30pm.

The first event taking place on Saturday May 30 will welcome the likes of multi-ARIA award-winning singer Kate Ceberano performing songs from her jazz back catalog, revered local artist Kaiit closing the night with her party-starting energy and inimitable take on neo-soul as well as an appearance from mesmerising vocalist Gretchen Parlato alongside her partner and internationally-renowned drummer and composer Mark Guiliana, all the way from the US.

Other highlights to the program include the album launch of saxophonist Julien Wilson’s STOCK project, that also features Chris Hale (bass guitar), Craig Fermanis (electric guitar) and Hugh Harvey (drums), as well as a performance from transcendent violinist Luca Ciarla, streaming a solo looping violin set direct from Italy.

From 12pm, the festival will kick off with a career development panel focused on surviving and thriving during the current crisis.

Conceived in conjunction with The Vizard Foundation, These Digital Times is also supported by the Victorian government through Creative Victoria and the City of Melbourne. MIJF CEO Hadley Agrez is excited to see the event come to life.

“We are very grateful for the generous support provided by our partners, which allows us to pay our artists for their time and work in the same way we usually would for our annual festival,” Agrez said. “These Digital Times will bring some of the best jazz and contemporary music from around Melbourne and the world direct to people’s homes in a format that ensures our artists, audiences and staff remain safe at all times.”

These Digital Times will enjoy its inaugural event on Saturday May 30, with events to follow on the last Saturday of June and July. Find out more about the free festival via the Melbourne International Jazz Festival website.

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