Newport Jazz Fest: Home edition

Back in late April, as all events for the foreseeable future started to be canceled or postponed due to the unfolding COVID-19 pandemic, the Newport Festivals Foundation came to the conclusion that due to safety concerns they would have to cancel both the Folk and Jazz Festivals and wait until summer 2021 to return to the Fort. This weekend (Jul 31 – Aug 1) marks what would have been the official start to the weeklong festivities in Newport and although it is absolutely necessary that these festivals do not take place at this time, for those who spend the whole year looking forward to the Folk and Jazz Festivals, it still stings knowing that we won’t be going this year. 

However, in the months between the postponement announcement and now, the NFF has been hard at work crafting “Newport Jazz Revival 2020,” which will take place over Jazz Fest weekend (Aug 7 – 9) and will offer a plethora of unique experiences, programming and other content to give jazz fans plenty to stave off their cravings for the festivals. Here is a quick preview of what they have planned.

Kicking it off will be Jazz Night In America (an NPR-produced public radio program), which is running a three-part Newport Jazz Festival Radio Special. In each part, host and NJF artistic director Christian McBride reaches back into the long history of Jazz Fest and hand picks special sets to highlight the 65 years of Newport Jazz. Part 1 took place on Fri, Jul 24, 11pm / Sat, Jul 25, 6pm. Catch Part 2 on Fri, Jul 31, 11pm / Sat, Aug 1, 6pm; and Part 3 on Fri, Aug 7, 11pm / Sat, Aug 8, 6pm.


On August 8 and August 9 WBGO is helping to produce Newport Jazz Revival Radio, which will present archived sets from across the spectrum of amazing performances that have taken place at the Newport Jazz Festival.Tune in 88.3FM or visit wbgo.org from 6pm – 10pm on Sat, Aug 8 and Noon – 4pm on Sun, Aug 9.

Finally, on Sunday, August 9 at 7pm will be the premier of Jazz Together, a short film about the festivals, the NFF, and all they are doing to support artists and music education programs all across the country. Tune in to watch over on Newport Jazz’s Facebook or YouTube channels.

As the Newport Festival Foundation says, “Newport Jazz Revival 2020 is Newport Jazz’s way of celebrating all of the work we’ve done together, bringing music to our communities any way we can.” Visit newportjazz.org for all information regarding these offerings and ways you can interact with the NJF. Hope to see you all next year at the Fort!

Stay safe, stay healthy, and keep listening to jazz!

Ben Shaw is a local composer, performer, and writer. Find him at benjaminshawmusic.com.