Jazz Fest opens in Burlington with walk-in vaccine clinic

Updated: Jun. 4, 2021 at 7:38 AM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Burlington’s Discover Jazz Festival kicks off on the Burlington waterfront Friday night.

On Friday, the group 50 Saxophones -- also dubbed the world’s largest community saxophone orchestra -- will perform. They feature over 80 saxophonists ranging from 10 to 80 years old.

It’s meant to set the tone for a 10-day festival full of free events meant to celebrate community, togetherness, and local artists.

Jay Wahl, executive director of The Flynn, says the pandemic was hard on everyone and as Vermont opens back up there’s no better way to do it than with some music.

“I don’t know that we have had as many opportunities as I would like to see for people who are different to come together, to see each other to communicate, to show respect for each other. Particularly for jazz, which is a predominantly African American art form, in an era where Black lives absolutely do matter. We want to celebrate the culture, and lift up people’s stories and voices, and bodies in meaningful ways. And coming out of the pandemic, where it has been even harder to recognize people’s humanity, this festival does all of that and more, and hopefully is a lot of fun,” said Wahl.

Friday’s event starts at 6 p.m.

You can also get your COVID shot during Jazz Fest. There will be free walk-in COVID vaccine clinics available at City Hall Park between 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. They will be offering the Johnson & Johnson vaccine for anyone older than 18.

“I know we’re looking to get the younger 20 to 30 population as well as maybe capture some of the people who aren’t local and have had the option to get vaccinated already,” said Chelsea Sweeney with Garnet Health.

Sweeney says they’re hoping the large Jazz Fest crowds will attract people to the clinic.

Dima Dahdah of Burlington says Jazz Fest, along with the convenient spot, drew her to the clinic.

“I think having it at City Hall was a great decision because I knew where that was,” Dahdah said. “And I think I saw something about a music or jazz fest and I was like ‘This is incentive for this to be an enjoyable time.’”

Clinic organizers say they’re hoping to reach people who haven’t been able to get to a traditional clinic.

Christopher Felker of Burlington says that’s one of the reasons he waited until now to get the shot.

“It wasn’t that I wanted to wait. It was that there were long lines at a lot of other places and every time I would go to peek at my pharmacy, I didn’t have the time to stand around and wait,” Felker said.

For others, it was vaccine hesitancy and concerns about the side effects that was holding them back.

Adam Liotta says he feels more comfortable now that time has passed and more than 430,000 Vermonters have gotten at least one dose.

“I figured I’d wait for more people to go out and get it and then when I realized everyone else was getting it, I was like ‘Why not join in?’” Liotta said.

You do not need to register to attend the clinic.

The clinics will take place Friday and Saturday, along with more next weekend. No registration is needed.

Jazz fest kicks off on the Burlington waterfront Friday night.

Copyright 2021 WCAX. All rights reserved.