OutBeat: A Queer Jazz Festival

William Way LGBT Community Center



Patricia Barber at the Cape Town Jazz Festival.

The first-ever queer jazz festival in the United States, OutBeat will take place over three days in September 2014, addressing intersections amongst sexual orientation, gender identity, and jazz music. The festival will kick off with a panel discussion helmed by noted queer jazz musicians Fred Hersch, Patricia Barber, Drew Paralic, and Jennifer Leitham. They will discuss the role that sexuality does or does not play in their music, as well as perceptions of homosexuality in the jazz world. American jazz drummer Bill Stewart will perform music at a symposium the next day, telling tales of jazz history and recounting his experiences as an out musician. The festival will culminate in a daylong concert at Union Transfer, featuring over a dozen celebrated LGBTQ jazz artists, as well as local and emerging queer jazz musicians. This mix of musicians from a wide range of backgrounds, including upstarts and veterans, will create an open environment in which participating artists may learn from each other and engage in open dialogue.