ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - The 13th annual Spenard Jazz Fest has gone digital while supporting local artists affected by COVID-19.
"We have started a separate relief fund for artists-- full time musicians and that's already getting thousands of dollars put into it right now, so people are very helpful and we're very grateful for that," said Spenard Jazz Fest founder and director, Yngvil Vatnguttu.
Saturday was opening night of the several-week long jazz fest. This year's all-online festival will showcase local, national and international musicians online ‒ streaming live performances, workshops, virtual house concerts and movies. A team has worked hard on making sure the virtual festival is just as exciting and engaging for viewers as it normally is in person, but it didn't come without challenges.
"There's definitely some technical hurdles to come through in terms of making sure we're able to make sure everyone has microphones so they could have good sound, making sure everyone has a stable internet connection," said Eiden Pospisil with Spenard Jazz Fest. "With something like a live concert, you don't want any buffering or any issues like that, but we've got a great team that's working on it and so we're going to make it happen."
Musicians performing online during the first week of the festival include Witty Youngman of Anchorage, The Creek Street Cabaret Players from Ketchikan, Karrie Pavish Anderson from Willow, Rick Zelinsky, Mark Manners, Yngvil Vatn Guttu, Stephen Blanchett all of Juneau, and Paul Walde from California. Celebrity guests from New York – Grammy Award winner Ingrid Jensen and piano phenomenon Amina Figarova – will host workshops and perform during weeks two and three of the festival.
The festival runs May 16 through June 7. This weekend's events are free, with ticketed events throughout the first week starting at $10. You can watch live streams on the Spenard Jazz Fest Facebook page, or visit their website for more information.
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