Mark your calendars for William Way LGBT Community Center's upcoming OutBeat festival, taking place September 18–21, 2014. Supported by the Center, the country's first-ever queer jazz festival will address intersections of sexual orientation, gender identity, and jazz music, and will feature musicians Andy Bey, Grammy Award-winning pianist Fred Hersch, Patricia Barber Quartet, drummer Bill Stewart, and many more.
At WXPN's The Key, John Vettese talked to various people involved in the festival, including William Way director Chris Bartlett and Mark Christman of Ars Nova Workshop:
"Bartlett said that while LGBT artists were once denigrated in the jazz community, 'there's a new spirit of openness' and the festival's name was an acknowledgement of that and to their influence, as well as a reminder that there's still a ways to go. 'Even now, acknowledging LGBT voices seems uncomfortable, different, outside the box,' Christman said. With OutBeat opening the discussion, he hopes that it will come to seem less uncommon." Read more >
"Bartlett said he could find no evidence anywhere of a jazz festival focused particularly on gay musicians," writes Peter Crimmins for NewsWorks. "So, with funding from The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, he coordinated at least five venues to host dozens of musicians from around the country to take part in OutBeat. The musicians—all of whom identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender—[will] take part in 35 events, including concerts, talks, and forums." Read more >
Stay tuned for more about OutBeat as additional artists are announced and a full schedule of events is released this summer.