Philly to Host America’s First LGBT Jazz Festival

Drummer Bill Stewart is among the national acts playing at OutBeat, America's first queer jazz festival.

Drummer Bill Stewart is among the national acts playing at OutBeat, America’s first queer jazz festival.

Put your jazz hands up! Thanks to a grant from the Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, William Way Community Center is set to make history when it hosts America’s first queer jazz festival, OutBeat, this summer. A press release sent out this afternoon offers a hint at what to expect during the four-day festival, taking place September 18-21 in venues across town.

Philadelphia will play host to a number of critically acclaimed jazz artists across a broad musical spectrum, including Andy Bey, Grammy-winning pianist Fred Hersch, the Patricia Barber Quartet, and drummer Bill Stewart.

OutBeat, the first LGBT jazz festival ever produced in the United States, will include events ranging from public discussions hosted by JazzTimes to intimate performances, special receptions with the artists, and historic concerts in a variety of spaces. Festival sites will include lead venue partner, the William Way LGBT Community Center, Painted Bride Art Center, and Chris’ Jazz Café as well as participation in the Philadelphia Museum of Art‘s popular “Art After 5” series.

In addition to the concerts, Union Transfer will host the festival-closing block party, with food vendors, musicians, and arts and crafts booths.

Schedules and announcements about other performing acts will be rolling out in the coming weeks. Would love to see some more local acts, like Martha Graham Cracker, who performed at last year’s Center City Jazz Festival (Remember? When someone remarked that gays didn’t belong in jazz? Ha!) Stay tuned to G Philly for updates.