The 33rd Clifford Brown Jazz Festival will go on…virtually.

Due to COVID-19, the City of Wilmington is converting this year’s festival into a free virtual event with performances presented live stream from a local music studio on Thursday, June 25 through Saturday, June 27.

Daryl Brooks, 56, of Wilmington, is dresses as “Gold Man” during the 31st annual Clifford Brown Jazz Festival held at Rodney Square in downtown Wilmington. Photo by Butch Comegys.

The festival is comprised of 15 groups featuring 80 local and regional artists. Featured performers include the Jeff Bradshaw Band, Gerald Chavis, Korey Riker Band, Fostina Dixon and the Winds of Change, and Voices for Healing with Raye Jones Avery. Sets begin on Thursday and Friday at 7 p.m. and on Saturday at 3 p.m. Live stream access will be available via Facebook, You Tube, WITN Channel 28 and broadcast venues to be announced.

“Everyone throughout the City and the world will now have the opportunity to enjoy Wilmington’s premier annual music event which, for years, has proudly been known as the largest free jazz festival on the East Coast,” said Wilmington Mayor Mike Purzycki. “The pandemic will not interrupt a [Wilmington] institution, which will feature the talents of scores of musicians, many of them local music icons.”

Jazz saxophonist Godwin Louis, 33, of New York City, waits to perform with Etienne Charles on Wednesday night during the 31st annual Clifford Brown Jazz Festival in downtown Wilmington. Photo by Butch Comegys.

“We regretted very much having to cancel the Rodney Square staged event, but we have revived it to showcase

the talents of our own local musicians, which makes it an even more special event,” said Wilmington Cultural Affairs Director Tina Betz.

The Clifford Brown Jazz Festival is an annual tribute to the late jazz trumpeter and Wilmingtonian Clifford Brown, who was born in 1930 on the east side of the City. Also known as ‘Brownie,’ he died in 1956 at the age of 25 in a car accident on the Pennsylvania Turnpike, leaving behind only a few years’ worth of recordings. However, Brown’s short life and limited work has had a considerable influence on later jazz trumpet players such as Arturo Sandoval, Donald Byrd, Lee Morgan, Booker Little, and Freddie Hubbard. Two of Brown’s compositions, “Joy Spring” and “Daahoud,” have become jazz standards.

For a complete list of performers and showtimes, visit

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