Excitement builds as the entire jazz roster returns to the Cape region



Officials from the Rehoboth Beach Jazz Festival and True Blue Jazz Festival recently said the excitement was high this year, as a full weekend of entertainment and music is scheduled to begin on Thursday, October 14.

After being forced to cut spending last year because of COVID, it’s back to normal, or as normal as possible, said Denny Santangini, president of Delaware Celebration of Jazz, the organization with a goal. nonprofit that hosts the annual Rehoboth Beach Jazz Festival. Hotel rooms are difficult to find and most of the shows are sold out, he said.

“People can’t wait. They are so excited, ”Santangini said, adding that he recently spoke with a friend who is helping organize another jazz festival on the east coast. “He said it was like a big reunion.”

Peggy Raley and Eddie Sherman, founders and producers of the True Blue Jazz Festival, said they heard similar reactions.

“People are hungry for music and live entertainment,” said Raley.

Fred Dawson was named Rehoboth Beach Jazz Festival Producer of the Year 2021, Santangini said. Dawson has been a longtime supporter of the festival and one of his favorite performers over the years with his rock band Club Phred, he said. The Dawson group will be offering a free show at 1 p.m. on Saturday, October 16 at Rusty Rudder in Dewey Beach.

The True Blue Jazz Festival technically begins its musical celebration as it always does with the Youth Jazz Appreciation Night, which is held the day before the professionals open. This show begins at 6 p.m. Wednesday October 13 at Bethany Blues, 18385 Coastal Highway, Lewes.

True Blue Jazz’s mission is to keep jazz music alive through young musicians, Raley said. There will be groups from Sussex Academy, Cape Henlopen High School and Dover, she said.

Youth Night is regular, but new to True Blue this year is an expansion to Lewes, with shows at Lefty’s Alley & Eats, Nassau Valley Vineyards, and Bramble & Brine at the Buttery.

Over the past eight years, the focus has been on creating a community jazz festival, and now there is an opportunity to expand that community, Sherman said. There are 40 paid and free events in a dozen different venues, he said.

Organizers of both festivals recognize ongoing COVID unknowns and have both said they will follow appropriate protocols. For the Rehoboth Beach Jazz Festival, Santangini said that meant masks during performances at the Rehoboth Beach Convention Center, Cape Henlopen High School and Epworth United Methodist Church. For the True Blue Jazz Festival, Raley said it was a thoughtful process that includes multiple outdoor venues.

Santangini said ticket holders from 2020 can still use their tickets this year. He explained that no matter what day or days a person had tickets in 2020 – Thursday, Friday, Saturday or Sunday – those tickets are good for that year on that day. For example, if a show was on Thursday, October 15, 2020, it is now on Thursday, October 14, he said.

For more information and a full schedule of Rehoboth Beach Jazz Festival shows, visit rehobothjazz.com.

For more information and a full schedule of True Blue Jazz Festival performances, visit truebluejazz.org.


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