Details announced for nation’s first LGBT jazz fest


Organizers of the nation’s first LGBT jazz festival, to be held later this year in Philadelphia, unveiled plans for the inaugural event this week.

At a press conference Wednesday at City Hall, it was announced that OutBeat: America’s First Queer Jazz Festival will be held Sept. 18-21. Headliners will include Grammy-winning pianist Fred Hersch, Andy Bey, Patricia Barber Quartet and Bill Stewart.

The event is being staged by William Way LGBT Community Center, with backing by the Pew Center for Arts & Heritage.

“Philadelphia has enjoyed a legacy of being a great music city. We’re also a city that affirms the lives of LGBT people,” said Mayor Michael Nutter. “Hosting the first LGBT jazz festival in North America provides an opportunity to showcase the rich and vibrant culture of our city.”

Events will be held across the city, including at the center, Painted Bride Art Center and Chris’ Jazz Café. Union Transfer will host a daylong closing event, with Spring Garden Street closed down for vendors, musicians, food carts and artisans.

William Way executive director Chris Bartlett said it was an honor to host the “historic occasion.”

“We are thankful that the Pew Center for Arts & Heritage embraced this visionary initiative that we can now share with the world,” Bartlett added.

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