Celebration of music

Fans and musicians took to the streets and performance venues of downtown Eau Claire last April during 52nd Street, which is part of the Eau Claire Jazz Festival. This year’s Eau Claire Jazz Festival and the Jazz Crawl, the new name for 52nd Street, have been canceled because of concerns related to the COVID-19 outbreak.

The Eau Claire Jazz Festival and the accompanying Jazz Crawl will not take place in April because of concerns over the spread of COVID-19.

According to a news release from Eau Claire Jazz Inc., the organization that assists UW-Eau Claire student interns in presenting the festival:

“The health of all our festival participants and those close to them — from middle school band members to our esteemed adjudicators and guests from around the country — and the well-being of the Eau Claire community are of top concern to the Eau Claire Jazz Inc. board,” board President John Genskow said. “While this was not an easy decision to make, we believe it is the most responsible decision we could make in light of concerns about the novel coronavirus and the disruptive impact that has had on all levels of education and society.”

This will be the first year the Eau Claire Jazz Festival has not occurred since its inception in 1967. The longest-running student-operated jazz festival in the country, the Eau Claire Jazz Festival welcomes participation from middle, high school, and collegiate jazz ensembles for a two-day experience that spans UW-Eau Claire’s campus and downtown Eau Claire.

The annual Jazz Crawl, formerly 52nd Street, also is canceled in light of restrictions on public gatherings.

Proceeds from the Jazz Crawl support the accessibility and affordability of the Jazz Festival for participating ensembles. Additionally, those funds go toward a scholarship fund through the UW-Eau Claire Foundation.

“Eau Claire Jazz remains focused on supporting excellent educational experiences for students, inspiring performances for our community, and appreciating the talented artists who participate in our events,” ECJI executive director Quentin Volk said. “We’ll continue looking for opportunities to support musicians, educators, and students as this situation evolves. For now, deciding not to hold our events as scheduled is the first action we can take to support the health of these communities.”

Band directors, adjudicators, and musicians have been contacted regarding the board’s decision, and registration fees for this year’s events will be refunded.

Processes are underway to ensure refunds for any members of the public who bought tickets for any of these events. For additional information and updates on refunds, visit eauclairejazz.com.