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    Berklee ends Beantown Jazz Fest, partners with BAMS Fest

    Terri Lyne Carrington
    Terri Lyne Carrington

    Last year’s Beantown Jazz Festival served as the event’s swan song, Berklee announced Monday before reviewing a new partnership with the Boston Art and Music Soul Festival, or BAMS Fest, this summer.

    The music school’s decision to end its long-running fest — billed as Boston’s biggest block party — came after recent renovations to nearby Carter Playground. Organizers say the addition of a football field, tennis courts, and an enclosed playspace restricted their ability to program the event as they have since its launch in 2007.

    The Boston Jazz Festival, which at its peak brought tens of thousands to the intersections of Massachusetts and Columbus avenues, was known for blending international jazz, blues, Latin, funk, and groove.


    BAMS Fest, now in its second year, celebrates black artistry in Greater Boston, highlighting an eclectic mix of hip-hop, soul, funk, and spoken-word performances. The fest will again be held in Franklin Park. Its launch there last year attracted more than 2,000 attendees.

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    “This festival is for the people and designed by the people,” said Catherine Morris, founder and executive director of BAMS Fest, in a press release. “We want to create a space of belonging and celebration for communities of color, all while raising the profile of local visual and performing artists, and working towards building an artist-centric city.”

    Berklee professor Terri Lyne Carrington, artistic director for the Beantown Jazz Festival, will cocurate BAMS Fest; the lineup is expected to include student-musicians from across the globe.

    Morris expressed enthusiasm about partnering with Berklee, noting that the music school’s involvement “conveys their investment in community engagement, diversity, inclusion, and the arts.”

    BAMS Fest is scheduled for June 22; its lineup will be revealed later this week.

    Isaac Feldberg can be reached at