Seabreeze Jazz Festival begins, first smooth jazz festival in U.S. since pandemic began

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PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WMBB)–The Seabreeze Jazz Festival begins Thursday and will wrap up on Sunday. While the event was cancelled last year due to the coronavirus, event organizers say they’re ready for a fun-filled and safe weekend.

Seabreeze is the first smooth jazz festival to be held in the United States since the pandemic began. Around 5,500 people are expected to attend each day and most ticket options are sold out.

“We’re really setting a good example for everybody coming behind us, showing that the music industry can come back, the event industry can come back and we can do so in a safe environment,” said Amberley Brown, the Festival Merchandise Manager.

Event organizers reduced the capacity by 25% and are encouraging masks and social distancing.

“We’ve also got a tiered entry. So we have got our general admission coming in at two sepeate entry times to take down the amount of people coming in,” Brown said.

The event is also entirely cashless and touchless. Attendees may only bring in clear bags which allows for touchless security checks.

James Bell traveled to Panama City Beach from Tennessee for the festival and says he feeld safe.

“I was a bit timid in the beginning but I’m taking the precautions and we’re social distancing and I feel pretty safe when I see what they’ve done down here,” Bell said.

Popular performers include Michael J. Thomas, The Family Stone, Najee, and Jeffrey Osborne.

“We came here two years ago and had the time of our lives. The Seabreeze Festival is top notch,” said Lionel Cadogan, an attendee from New York.

While it is expected to rain on Saturday, Brown says they are a rain or shine event. If there is light rain, the event will continue as normal. But they will monitor for severe weather and adjust accordingly if needed.

“We’ll be announcing to either move the show back or forward to be able to change the start times so people aren’t sitting out here if it gets really serious,” Brown said.

For a list of performers and an itinerary of the event, head to https://www.seabreezejazzfestival.com/index.html

For up to date weather information ahead of Saturday, you can download our Storm Track 13 mobile app.

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