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Bix Beiderbecke Jazz Festival turns 50 this year. Here's what you need to know about the concerts.
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Bix Beiderbecke Jazz Festival turns 50 this year. Here's what you need to know about the concerts.

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Bix Beiderbecke Jazz Society will hold the 50th Annual Bix Beiderbecke Jazz Festival this week on Thursday, Friday and Saturday to honor the memory of Davenport native and jazz legend Leon “Bix” Beiderbecke.

The event opens Thursday at the Putnam Museum where NOLA Jazz Band will play from 3 to 4 p.m. From there, eight professional bands and the Bix Youth Jazz Band play at the Rhythm City Casino beginning Thursday night and all day Friday and Saturday.

“It’s amazing, 50 years,” Steve Trainor, president of the Bix Beiderbecke Jazz Society, said.

“I remember the second, third and fourth festivals,” Trainor said. “There was so much rain those years that organizers had to take out second mortgages on their homes to pay the bands.”

This year’s festival features the biggest number of items ever offered on the silent auction, he said.

Also new this year is a highlight video and DVD or thumb drive that people can order through the month of August. The cost is $25.

The third thing new this year is that the event will be streamed so people can watch any of the five five-hour concerts for $22 each.

“We want people to come in person,” Trainor said. “In person it’s just so much different and so much better. But if people don’t have the money after this year of COVID, or the mobility, they can watch it online. Just go to bixsociety.org and it will take you through all the prompts.”

Trainor said safety precautions would be in place.

“We’ve been planning this for 18 months, and if it wasn’t safe we wouldn’t do it," Trainor said. "If you want to wear a mask you’re welcome to it. There will be free masks for those who want them and hand-sanitation stations.” Seating will allow for social distancing, he added.

There will be eight bands, along with two all-star bands and the Bix Youth Jazz Band for everyone to enjoy, he said.

Trainor said there would be a free “taste test” from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday at the Carriage Haus at 3rd and Harrison streets.

For more information, visit bixsociety.org.

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