BeanTown Jazz Festival Returns, September 23-25

Liz Burg
July 21, 2011
Over 70,000 music lovers attended the 2010 Berklee Berklee BeanTown Jazz Festival.
Over 70,000 music lovers attended the 2010 Berklee BeanTown Jazz Festival.
Photo Phil Farnsworth
Photo Phil Farnsworth

Tens of thousands of music lovers hailing from far and wide are expected to jam Boston city blocks this fall to enjoy jazz, Latin, blues, and more at the 11th annual Berklee BeanTown Jazz Festival on September 23-25. Presenting sponsor Natixis Global Asset Management (NGAM) concludes its Berklee 2011 Summer in the City outdoor concert series with the jazz festival. Last year's festival drew more than 70,000 music lovers.

The festival opens September 23 with jazz heavyweight collaboration James Farm featuring Joshua Redman and closes with the New Gary Burton Quartet on September 25, both ticketed events at the Berklee Performance Center (BPC). Tickets for the New Gary Burton Quartet go on sale July 22 at 10:00 a.m. at the BPC box office or at James Farm tickets are on sale now at In the festival's special pre-opening concert, on September 20, drummer and faculty member Terri Lyne Carrington—also the festival's artistic director—will perform with her group at Cafe 939.

Boston's biggest block party on Saturday, September 24, from 12:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Columbus Avenue starts at Massachusetts Avenue in the South End and features three stages with performances from more than 15 artists, family activities at the Berklee Family Park, and vendor booths offering food from all over the world. The Berklee Family Park will transform Carter Playground on Columbus Avenue into a hub of activity including inflatables, face painting, and an instrument petting zoo staffed by Berklee professionals.

Top acts on the outdoor stages include Oleta Adams, Rafael Zaldivar, Pablo Ablanedo, Louis Hayes, Marcus Santos and Bloco AfroBrazil, and others. Berklee students and faculty play a major role in the festival with performances from the acclaimed Berklee Global Jazz Institute Ensemble as well as Berklee teachers, students, and recent graduates: Jeff Ramsey, Darcel Wilson, Shea Rose, the Berklee P-Funk Ensemble, and professor Bill Banfield and the Jazz Urbane project. The full concert schedule is available at

This year, the Saturday festival celebrates global music and nature, featuring musical styles and artists from around the globe in an outdoor setting.

The National Endowment for the Arts, for the second year in a row, has awarded a grant to Berklee to support the Berklee BeanTown Jazz Festival, in consortium with JazzBoston. Subaru of New England is also a festival sponsor.