City Park Jazz Cancels 2020 Concert Series, Vows to Pay Performers Anyway

On the morning of April 7, City Park Jazz (CPA) announced the cancellation of its 2020 season, which featured 10 free jazz concerts from June through August at Denver’s City Park. The Governor of Colorado’s institution of the stay-at-home order a little less than two weeks ago and its subsequent extension through April 26 heavily informed the Board of Directors’ decision to “err on the side of caution” and call off  this year’s season, according to the concert series’ Facebook post.

Every musician that City Park Jazz had signed on to perform this season will be paid. “There wasn’t even a debate, honestly,” said CPA’s Executive Director, Tony Nadal, when it came to instilling this measure.

“City Park Jazz is a celebration of community and it starts with the incredible talent Colorado has to offer. None of our musicians are playing gigs right now. In many cases, their sole source of income has been completely derailed. We’re in the blessed position to be able to make good on our end of the deal, even if we’re gonna have to work extra hard next year to make it up,” Nadal elaborated.

City Park Jazz also clarified that its decision to cancel this year’s in-person shows at the bandshell does not mean that this Denver tradition is eradicated entirely. Organizers are optimistic about pursuing other methods to bring blues, jazz salsa to Denverites free of charge this summer. CPA’s Booking Director, Andy Bercaw, is one of the partner owners of the Oriental Theater — one of the last major independent venues in the city — and aims to repurpose the theatre as a setting from which bands can live stream performances. “Obviously, it depends on whatever the city and state regulations are as we get into the summer,” Bercaw says, “But as long as we’re allowed to do it and we have all necessary health and safety protocols in place, we will.”

City Park Jazz encourages its patrons to check back on its Facebook and website later on in May as the COVID-19 outbreak — and its effect on community engagement — continues to unfold.