Cathedral Park Jazz Festival lives on via free livestream

Multnomah County

It will be the same free music with many of the same great local artists

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The coronavirus has put a stop to many live events, but some longtime fixtures on the Portland music scene are doing what they can to keep the music playing — even during a pandemic.

This weekend’s Cathedral Park Jazz Festival in St. Johns — advertised as the largest free jazz festival west of the Mississippi — is in its 40th year. The concert people are used to seeing will not happen this year, but organizers of the event plan on live streaming more than a dozen local performers — so you’ll be able to enjoy the music from your laptop. 

“The St. Johns community and Cathedral Park has been just an iconic place to have these festivals,” Yvonne Lerch with Cathedral Park Jazz Festival said.

The music will play beginning at 5 p.m. Friday afternoon, but the musicians on stage, the large gathering of people in the shadow of the historic St. Johns bridge will have to wait for another time. Instead, all musicians will play from a 4000 square-foot production studio in Portland with their music livestreamed over Twitch for free.

“While one band is performing the other one is setting up and it gets more technical after that but the audience at home will see hopefully this seamless presentation of 15 bands one after another,” Rita Rega with Cathedral Park Jazz Festival said.

It will be the same free music with many of the same great local artists. To add some flavor of the real thing — a live looking scene of the St. Johns bridge will be a superimposed into the background so it’ll look like musicians playing in front of the real bridge in real-time. 

“Music is a healing source and I think the musicians will be able to show that when they’re performing because they literally haven’t been able to, for the most part, be together for four months,” said Lerch.

Twitch is a platform with high-quality pictures — an experience almost as good as being there. The link will be available on the Cathedral Park Jazz Festival website in the coming days.

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