Jazz + Freedom Festival History and Vision
By Shannon Gunn
In 2002, I had the distinct opportunity to perform with the faculty of Michigan State University for an event called “Prayers, Peace, Protest” over Martin Luther King Jr. weekend. We performed as well as “The Real Ambassador” by Dave Brubeck. This performance had a lasting impact on me, and I wanted to try to produce something similar since moving to Virginia in 2005.
I feel the need to express frustrations with our judicial system while also promoting peace through music.
Thus the idea of the Jazz and Freedom Festival was born. CapitalBop joined the cause, and suggested we donate half the door money to charity. The first year we chose EmpowerDC, an organization committed to helping the DC community. Our second festival benefited Black Lives Matter in 2016.
This year we will host the festival at a new venue – Tropicalia – on January 14th, 2017. This year the festival will benefit our beloved Jazz and Justice radio station, WPFW-FM.
January 14th, 2017 – Jazz and Freedom Festival at Tropicalia
And fundraiser for WPFW-FM.
- 3 pm Panel discussion
- 4:30 MBOWIE and BLAST
- 5:40 Akua Alrich
- 6:50 Janel Leppin
- 8:00 REformanceArtists
- 9:10 Jazz and Freedom Quartet featuring Tarus Mateen (b), Sarah Hughes (as), Allen Jones (d), Shannon Gunn (tr) and Free for All Album by Art Blakey
Festival Intended Audience
This festival will appeal to jazz fans and musicians in the DC metro area. It is meant to not only bring to light how jazz musicians in the past used their platform for social justice, but also to be cathartic for those performing.
This is not “pretty” music. The music of this festival will make people think, make them wonder, and hopefully promote social justice.
More details on the Jazz and Freedom Festival at Union Arts
- Produced CapitalBop with Shannon Gunn
- Panel of speakers on jazz and justice at 3:30 pm
- Bands start at 4:30 pm
- Half of the door money will go to WPFW-FM
- Food and drink will be available for purchase
$20 suggested donation for the entire evening of performances.by