A preview of Eau Claire’s Jazz Crawl

Taking a close look at the upcoming Jazz Festival

Ella Freeman

More stories from Ella Freeman



The festival’s logo.

The Eau Claire Jazz Crawl presented by Royal Credit Union is set to take place on April 21 from 5 p.m.-2 a.m. 

Olivia Jean Lafler is an intern for Eau Claire Jazz Inc. which organizes the Jazz Festival and the Gatsby Gala. Lafler said the Jazz Crawl is part of a large Jazz Festival. 

Eau Claire Jazz states the Eau Claire Jazz Festival is an annual event that blends education and entertainment for students and community members. The festival will be from April 21-22 this year. 

This festival will include the Jazz Crawl and Concert series for entertainment. For education, the festival will offer student sessions and master classes. Information for these can be found on eauclairejazz.com 

According to Lafler, this event will take place within 19 venues and have over 40 jazz artists, along with food trucks lining Barstow Street throughout the event. 

“The Jazz Crawl was started by Eau Claire Jazz, Inc. Artistic Director Robert Baca in 2013, named 52nd Street,” Lafler said. “In New York, 52nd Street was where the jazz clubs were located. In 2019, 52nd Street was renamed the Jazz Crawl.” 

According to Eau Claire Jazz, this crawl transforms the streets of Eau Claire into a New York-style nightlife celebration. It also states that this event is predicted to bring in over 3,000 people. 

This event will feature many all-ages jazz shows, but will also include a few 21+-only shows in specific venues. 

Lafler said this event is open for all jazz lovers of any age, and she encourages everyone to check out a show or two. 

“Starting at 5 p.m. there will be a welcome performance by UWEC Jazz Ensemble III. From 6 p.m.-2 a.m., groups will perform for 1-2 hours each and people can explore the different bands at all the different venues!” Lafler said. 

The pre-event launch at 5 p.m. will include a welcoming message from UW-Eau Claire Chancellor James Schmidt. 

The crawl will take over the entirety of Barstow Street and some of the surrounding downtown area. 

According to Lafler, bands had to apply to participate in this event, and there will be many local jazz groups among others from the Twin Cities and surrounding areas. 

“We have a large range of bands performing, from traditional big bands and combos to ukulele and flute choirs,” Lafler said. 

Lafler said her goals for this event are the same as Eau Claire Jazz Inc.‘s goals — to bring the community together, and celebrate jazz music. Also to build the future of this unique, original American art form.  

“Our hope is to inspire, educate and entertain. We create a vibrant, growing community which celebrates high-quality jazz music through engaging performances and investments in jazz education,” Lafler said.

According to the Eau Claire Jazz website, wristbands can be purchased for $15, and these wristbands will get attendees into all indoor and outdoor venues. Children 10 and under will get in for free. Proceeds from this event will support the Eau Claire Jazz Festival education programs. 

Freeman can be reached at [email protected].