Tucson’s sense of community is demonstrated through its many collaborative programs, traditions and festivals.
On Thursday, Jan. 11, the people of Tucson came together to celebrate and dance to the sound of the city’s annual HSL Properties Tucson Jazz Festival.
The festival runs Jan. 11–21. On Monday, Jan. 15, the festival lasted all day long and was free to the public.
“Tucson has really good sense of community. The part [of Tucson]I hang out in does a lot to promote community and brings everyone together,” Shaun Hagan, a Tucson resident, said.
The festival is presented by a non-profit organization called Jazz in January. World-class jazz is performed on both outdoor and indoor stages, venues downtown and is featured at the Fox and Rialto theatres.
Music is presented by people such as Sheila E., Spyro Gyra, Arturo Sandoval, Warren Wolf and more, attracting jazz fans near and far. However, the festival also appeals to jazz newcomers with its lively music ranging from straight-ahead to contemporary jazz and buzzing dance floors.
The downtown streets were packed all day Monday with people from Tuscon as well as tourists.
A full 50 percent of ticket buyers come to the festival from outside of Tucson, according to tucsonjazzfestival.org.
“I know it brings in a lot of tourists and a lot of people are here from out-of-town, so I think it brings in a lot of good money,” Brittney Trang, a recent University of Arizona graduate, said.
The festival not only brings lots of tourists to Tucson, but it also makes money from its many sponsors.
HSL Properties is its main sponsor, but others include Visit Tucson, Rio Nuevo, Arizona Inn, Geico and many more.
Due to its many sponsorships, the festival is able to keep prices low, at $45 and $35 for all shows, except the UAPresents and Tucson Symphony Orchestra.
Trang said she sees significance in the free festival as Martin Luther King Jr.’s memory was celebrated in Tucson with jazz music flooding the streets, bars and stages of downtown and smiling people dancing the day and night away. Rosemary Muñoz, a volunteer at the celebration, said the same.
“I think there’s just a lot of culture and history behind it,” Muñoz said. “I think it’s a beautiful experience to be out here and celebrate MLK Day this way.”
The jazz festivities continue throughout the week with a final finishing act from Wycliffe Gordon and Jay Leonhart at Club Congress on Jan. 21.
For more information, visit tucsonjazzfestival.org.
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