Tri-C JazzFest Set to Swing in Playhouse Square

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For Tri-C JazzFest, change has proven to be good.

For most of its 39 year history, JazzFest took place over a week to 10 days, and much of it was held on Tri-C’s Metro Campus with just a few performances in Playhouse Square.

However, in 2014, the Festival was moved to summer, shortened to three days and is almost entirely staged in Playhouse Square.

Director Terri Pontremoli says these shifts have really been beneficial to the festival.

“By moving to the summer, that makes us more of a destination event. So what makes it better when you put your lineup together, the artists are really on the road doing their tours of North American and Canadian jazz festivals.  So it’s better to get these artists when they are actually out. There’s not too many challenges because there are so many great musicians, so it makes it easy to put together a good lineup,” she said.


Pontremoli said the move to Playhouse Square has changed the makeup of the crowd.

“There’s more and different people coming. People are coming from out of town and state and really immersing themselves. They enjoy free outdoor activities that start at 3 p.m. and go until midnight.  The dance floor is always thumping. They get to really enjoy downtown Cleveland,” she said.


The 39th annual Tri-C JazzFest takes place Thursday through Saturday in Playhouse Square.  There are ticketed concerts and free performances, as well as a number of activities for children.

Friday at 1:40 p.m., JazzFest artists Dr. Lonnie Smith and Grace Kelly play in ideastream’s Westfield Insurance Studio Theater as part of our Applause Performances series.  You can hear it on 90.3 WCPN and watch it on our ideastream Facebook page.

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