Changes are afoot down South. The organizers of the Red Sea Jazz Festival – which other than the curtain-raiser back in 1987, has been an annual fixture slap-bang in the middle of the sweltering summer vacation – have announced that the 34th year will see the festival take on a new guise, and that it has been scheduled for mid-November.Considering all the cultural calendar cancellations that have been the order of the day worldwide in recent pandemic-dominated months, with little left of the forthcoming summer jazz festival circuit anywhere, it comes as little surprise to hear the announcement from Eilat. “The corona crisis enforced a different reality on us, and we decided to turn this crisis into an opportunity,” declared upbeat Eilat Deputy Mayor and Municipal Tourism Corporation Chairman Eli Lankari. “We changed the date, we changed the place but we will maintain the quality of the festival, and we’ll upgrade it and make it into an international event, too.”The upcoming jazz program will be held at the former site of Eilat Airport, currently being re-crafted as the new Terminal Park. The new location is more user-friendly for visitors staying at hotels on and around the town’s northern shore. It also cuts out the need for shuttles and the gridlock that patrons of the summer event have endured over the years as they headed south to the Port of Eilat venue. The November slot also offers more comfortable weather in the bargain.There has been a change in the artistic director position as well, with veteran rock-pop-reggae-world music bass guitarist and producer Yossi Fine taking over programming from internationally renowned jazz saxophonist Eli Degibri. Fine has also mixed it with his fair share of jazz A-listers over the years, including the likes of the Gil Evans Orchestra and guitarist Stanley Jordan, gaining a Grammy nomination for a number he wrote for Jordan called “Always Knows.”With the restrictions on movement, including international travel, that have decimated the cultural agenda across the world, the organizers of the new event have gone for a fully home-based lineup this time round. “It is a great honor and I moved and even more excited because this year will be entirely devoted to Israeli artists,” says Fine. And he has plenty of reserves to call on. “We have so many superb artists. It is time to be proud of what we have, and there is a lot. It’s going to be great fun.”The lineup has yet to be announced but, as Fine notes, there is no shortage of talent here, or homegrown gifted artists playing their craft overseas to call on, across a wide range of styles, genres and subgenres.For any jazz fan who may have been deterred from making the trip south for the summer Red Sea Jazz Festival over the years, the weather in Eilat in November should provide a neat environmental and milieu for the cultured sounds that, no doubt, will come their way from the old airport. “I invite you to come and enjoy spectacular sunset shows against a backdrop of the Edomite Mountains and the Red Sea,” says Tourism Corporation Director General Yossi Chen. “You will be able to listen to quality music playing right across town, and go out and have fun at the various tourism spots in the city, and close to the festival location.”Sounds like a tourism winner in the making.