Atlanta Jazz Festival

Atlanta Jazz Festival 2014
/ May
Live Festival Updates:

Free Entry

Atlanta Jazz Festival 2014

Atlanta, Georgia, USA
Piedmont Park
33.786888, -84.374167 (View Map)
3 Days (Tue, 23 May 2017 - Thu, 25 May 2017)
Ticket Price
FREE - $55.00
Festival Planned

The Atlanta Jazz Festival 2014 is scheduled for 23rd – 25th May and with an annual attendance of around 150,000 it promises to be one of the best jazz events in Georgia. With a number of outdoor stages showcasing the best performers from around the globe and multiple venues in Atlanta city catering for the evenings entertainment it’s perfect for all the family.


Atlanta Jazz Festival 2013 highlights

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Atlanta Jazz Festival 1978 Poster

Atlanta Jazz Festival 1978 Poster

Originally founded in 1978, the first Atlanta Jazz Festival took place on September 21 at the former Central City Park Ampthitheater (now called Woodruff Park) and showcased a line up of 29 acts and with this, became the largest free jazz festival in the country. The first year was such a success that the Mayor of the city at the time, Mayor Jackson, announced that the festival were to become an annual event in the city and will always remain free :-).

The festival grew over the years and it wasn’t until the early 80’s that the festival organisers decided to change the dates of the festival to the Labour Day weekend (1983). In 1984 the festival dates were changed again to be hosted on Memorial Day weekend along with a change in the name. What was once called the Free Atlanta Jazz Festival was now called simply the Atlanta Jazz Festival in order to “…eliminate the allusion to a particular style of jazz.”. Name changes were frequent, over the years it has been called the Atlanta Jazz Festival and Concert Series (1985-87), and The Atlanta Jazz Series (1988-1990), now simply known again as the Atlanta Jazz Festival.

Whilst most of the festival’s performances are free, there continues to be a number of paid concerts at Chastain Park which serve to raise funds for the Bureau of Cultural Affairs whilst also to attract the more popular jazz artists to the festival by means of financial incentive.

Show More History...

In 2002, the city produced a exhibit of commemorative posters to mark the 25th anniversary of the festival.

Since the festivals 30th year anniversary in 2007 the city of Atlanta has taken part in what’s known as the ‘31 Days of Jazz’, bringing 31 days of jazz festivities and events during the entire month of May. Most events are hosted at the Piedmont Park, most are free and all are open to the general public. Many new and upcoming artists are seen performing during these days as somewhat of a build-up to the main festival at the end of the month.

Around the same time a new ‘Nightlife Series‘ (also known as the ‘Late Night Jazz Events‘) was introduced into the festival programme to extend the jazz into the evenings. These events were mainly hosted at nightclubs, hotels, bars and a handful of restaurants throughout the metro Atlanta area.

Whilst the festival is most well known for it’s live performances, it also has a month-long educational focus and has set up a number of jazz master-classes for anyone wishing to take part in them, these are named the ‘Jazz Education and Workshop Series’ and are also free.

Many big names have performed at the festival over the years including (but not limited to): Miles Davis, Mary Lou Williams, Shirley Horn, Sun Ra, Chet Baker, Joe Williams, Duke Pearson, Bill Braynon, The Heath Brothers, and Paul Mitchell.

The festival has been made possible due to the shear amount of unpaid volunteers who invest much of their time to co-ordinate activities and make sure everything runs smoothly. These volunteers are now proudly known as the ‘Jazzteers‘.

The previous Mayor of Atlanta, Shirley Franklin, has this to say on the Atlanta Jazz Festival:

The festival was formed to celebrate the rich cultural heritage of our city and has blossomed into a celebration of our nation’s contribution to human expression. Music heals. It reaches deep within the human soul and soothes and nourishes the empty-hearted and cultivates the spirit of community that surges through the City of Atlanta. The Atlanta Jazz Festival is one of the city’s proudest traditions. – Shirley Franklin, Mayor of Atlanta, Georgia.

For children and aspiring jazz musicians: the festival also hosts a Youth band Competition…

The Atlanta Jazz Festival has built up its reputation over the years and now currently has 4.5/5 stars from a number of reviews on and so it’s one you probably don’t want to miss if you’re in the area during May each year…

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Lineup & Schedule

The lineup for the 2014 Atlanta Jazz Festival is shown below. Check back regularly for details. Follow us on Facebook, bookmark this page or ⇩ subscribe to lineup notifications ⇩

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what do you think of this years lineup?

Previous acts of 2013 have included: Cécile McLorin Salvant, Dominick Farinacci, Meshell Ndegeocello, José James, Tia Fuller, Aruán Ortiz, Gretchen Parlato, and Rudresh Mahanthappa.

If you’ve heard any rumors of who might be playing or headlining then please leave them in the comments section below (also in the tabbed section).


The Official 2013 Venue Map - Piedmont Park

The Official 2013 Venue Map – Piedmont Park

The Atlanta Jazz Fest has multiple venues, with the main-stages being at Piedmont Park and Chastain Parkthe gates are open from 11am to 11pm, after which the late-night venues (mostly hotels and bars) take on for the evenings entertainment. Some times you will need tickets these can be purchased on the door or in advanced from (by phone at (800) 745-3000 often at a slightly reduced price).


Abattoir's Octopus Dog

Feeling crazy? Try the Abattoir’s Octopus Dog!

Atlanta is a wash with great tasting food from a multitude of different restaurants and cafés which serve up cuisines from all over the world. At the festival you’ll find a couple of small stalls and stands but for the REAL food experience you really want to be heading into Downtown Atlanta where you can grab some classics like a quick slice of pizza at the renowned Rosa’s Pizza joint or splash out and feast on some seafood and sushi at Ray’s in the City which is a little bit more expensive ;-). A good list of Atlanta’s Most Iconic Dishes here.

For a complete list of venues you can head over to Urban Spoon – Downtown Restaurants which have all eating joints reviewed with location information, cost breakdown and even photos of the dishes – A truly excellent resource.


The majority of the Atlanta Jazz Festival are free to attend and thus have no tickets. There are however many late-night shows and some ‘special’ concerts in various hotels and locations around Atlanta during the festival period; these venues often charge for tickets. Prices are in line with what you would expect to pay with a maximum price of $55.

Performers at the launch party at Loews Hotel, Atlanta

Performers at the launch party at Loews Hotel, Atlanta

Loews Atlanta Hotel normally hosts a few good nights of entertainment for the night owls out there. They sell tickets via

You can view last years schedule and prices at the Jazz Festival Weekend Schedule page of the official site.

Please help secure the future of this event by sharing on your social media channels. It only takes 2 seconds and with your support we can increase exposure of the event, boost ticket sales, attract more festival-goers and organize better festivals for the future. We need your support, if you can, please help. Thank you.

Flights & Transportation

The nearest international airport to the Atlanta Jazz Festival is Hartsfield Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) and is located 15 miles from Piedmont Park. Piedmont park is approximately 1 mile northeast of Downtown and is situated between Midtown and Virginia Highland Neighborhoods. To get to Downtown from the airport you can get either the airport shuttle which operates free of charge 24 hours a day and takes you to the transportation area of the airport, from here you can get a train or bus operated by Marta into the Downtown area, prices for one-way fares are $2.5o and take around 20 minutes. Train Schedule & Routes | Bus Schedule and Routes. MARTA have also put together a dedicated page on how to get to and from the airport.

Van, Minibus, and Charter Services are provided to Downtown, Midtown, and Buckhead with shuttles leaving every 15 minutes from the airport.

Alternatively you can get a taxi, fare will be around $30.00. Taxis services that operate from the airport include Avis, Budget Car Rental, Enterprise, Hertz and National among many others.

Currently 13 airlines operate from the Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson Airport (list of airlines here). To get the best flight deals I would use SkyScanner‘s official search widget below.

Hotels & Accommodation

The cheapest accommodation options I could find in and around Atlanta, Georgia during the festival period (end of May) are shown below (Click HERE for a complete list):

*** Hotel prices rise exponentially as you get closer to the festival dates. Book early to avoid disappointment. ***

Hotels Combined

If you are on a super shoe-string budget then search HostelWorld and get a bed in Atlanta City for as little as $15.99!

St Regis Hotel, Atlanta - Pure Luxury!

St Regis Hotel, Atlanta – Pure Luxury!

For those with a bit of cash to splash I’ve recommend having a look at the St. Regis Atlanta hotel (a AAA Five Diamond boutique hotel!). Whatever you’re financial situation, as always I would suggest you check Atlanta hotel reviews on TripAdvisor prior to placing any bookings.

Stone Mountain Camp Ground Map

Stone Mountain Camp Ground Map

Note that there is NO TENT CAMPING at the Atlanta Jazz Festival. However, if you did really want to enjoy the outdoors and camp during the festival period you could always head on over to Stone Mountain Park Campground which is approximately 20 miles away from Piedmont Park and offers everything from basic tenting facilities and full hookups for RV’s. Prices are reasonable and it’s probably the best park in Atlanta.


We currently have not been able to interview anybody at the Atlanta Jazz Festival, if you work for the festival and would like to answer a few questions for this section of your listing, please contact me so that we can get something arranged, thank you.

Outside of the Festival

Advertisements at Word of Coca Cola

Advertisements at Word of Coca Cola

If you’re coming to Atlanta especially for the Jazz Festival then it would be a shame not to take a few days out to explore everything the city has to offer. The Georgia Aquarium is a great day out for the whole family, so is the World of Coca-Cola which is a personal favourite of mine, especially the galleries of advertising campaigns they have launched over the years, some of which are VERY cleaver!

You could also do a tour of the CNN Studios which features the worlds longest freestanding escalator and even have a go at “cold reading” in Studio 7E.

Other places you might want to visit if you’re in the area:

If you require any further information on this festival or would like to leave a message for others then please use the comments section below.

NB. You also find photo gallerieslive festival newstransport information in the tabbed section below. All festival listings are changing continuously, check back regularly.

Additional Resources

Post last updated by Paul Thomson on May 19, 2014
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Heart of Festival
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