JazzTimes

THE LITTLE FESTIVAL THAT COULD

ON JANUARY 10, 2010, AN EARTHQUAKE MEASURING 7.0 on the Richter scale struck Haiti, destroying much of its capital city, Port-au-Prince. Ten years later, with two traffic lights in a city of over a million, and a staggering gap between the 1% and 99%, this resilient Caribbean nation—the first to claim its independence—is still struggling to recover and rebuild, suffering from widespread corruption and a sense of powerlessness to bring about change. But at least one positive thing has remained consistent here for the past decade: the Port-au-Prince (PAP) Jazz Festival.

From January 18 to 25, 2020, the festival celebrated its 14th edition. It was held in 2010 despite the earthquake, but the fact that it went on as planned this year was, if anything, even more remarkable—a testament to organizational skill, creative artistic direction, and sheer resourcefulness. The prospects of hosting a jazz festival in a city beset by ongoing political instability, social unrest, and extreme poverty seemed uncertain until the very last moment. And yet, despite several artists’ cancellations and the loss of significant

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