Prairie Village tentatively plans to bring back JazzFest after canceling last year’s for pandemic


The Prairie Village JazzFest committee is planning to move forward with the 2021 festival on Sept. 11, but there will be modifications due to COVID-19 such as potentially limiting attendance. Above, an act from a previous JazzFest. File photo.

The city of Prairie Village is planning to host JazzFest 2021, the city’s annual jazz festival, on Sept. 11 after canceling the 2020 celebration due to COVID-19.

Councilmember Inga Selders, the liaison for the city’s JazzFest committee, said during the April 19 city council meeting that the committee had decided to move forward with the annual event.

The JazzFest committee believes this year’s event will be able to go on, but changes are on the horizon.

“As it stands, the committee feels comfortable with the event taking place” Selders said during the meeting. “There will need to be modifications this year to keep the budget down as well as to keep visitors, volunteers and talent as safe as possible.”

Proposed changes

Meghan Buum, Prairie Village assistant city administrator, told the Post JazzFest, historically, has attracted crowds of about 3,000 people to 77th Street and Mission Road. File photo (pre-pandemic).

Although the 2021 event budget has yet to be finalized, JazzFest normally costs around $60,000, which is covered by city contribution and other donations, according to Meghan Buum, Prairie Village’s assistant city administrator.

In order to keep Jazz Fest as safe as possible amid COVID-19 the committee proposes changing the event in the following ways:

  • The committee proposes to host the event from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. to allow one final act to end the show a little later than normal.
  • Fewer volunteers compared to previous years by reducing the number of merchandising and V.I.P. tents, and selling only bottled and canned beverages.
  • Potentially limiting the number of event visitors, which has historically reached a crowd of about 3,000 people.
  • Relying on the city’s public works department to help with JazzFest set up and tear down, again to reduce the number of volunteers.

While the committee is planning to move forward with the event, Selders said an “out” clause would be written into its approval so JazzFest 2021 could be canceled if deemed necessary due to COVID-19 or other concerns

The JazzFest committee will meet again on May 4 to further discuss the number of concerns and potential changes.