Jacksonville Jazz Festival
Jacksonville Jazz Festival 2014
The 2014 Jacksonville Jazz Festival is the second largest jazz festival in the USA and this year will be held from 22rd – 25th May.
It has been dubbed by many experts and magazines to be one of the best jazz festivals in the USA.
Taking place in various venues in Downtown Jacksonville, Florida, this city sponsored jazz festival has been operating 1979 and along side the musical performances the festival also hosts the annual ‘Great American Jazz Piano Competition‘, wine tasting and the ‘Art in the Heart‘ Downtown art show which is juried by a panel of experts.
The original festival was hosted in a small fishing village of Mayport and orginally started to help with local commerce, expecting only a few hundred people to come, the organisers were shocked when their one-day free concert attracted in excess of 25,000 people. The next year there were even more people and so the venue had to be changed as the little town of Mayport was struggling to cope with the crowds.Show More History...
In 1982 the festival was moved to the recently opened Metropolitan Park and headlined by Dizzy Gillespie who agreed to do the gig for only $7,500. Various sponsors chipped in whilst local churches and small organisations provided the food and drinks in order to keep the event free for the community.
In 1986 Miles Davis headlined the festival but charged some $25,000 in order to perform. As sponsorships were dwindling the festival organisers (now the public television station WJCT) decided to charge a small entrance fee of $5 to help cover the costs. WJCT decided to pull their sponsorship for the event in the late 1990′s as even though the attendance had reached 20,000+ it still wasn’t enough to cover the costs of operation. The festival was therefore cancelled in 2001 and 2002.
Between the years of 2003 and 2006 the festival continued to lose money for the city as bigger names were performing and charging larger fees for doing so. The festival remained free but in 2007 and 2008 the budget was cut significantly in order to save money for the Jacksonville city.
Whilst predominantly a jazz festival, the event also includes a number of other highlights like the wine-tasting (mentioned above), where people can purchase a “tasting ticket” and sample a selection of the finest wines from over 50 different wineries. You’ll also find many food and drink stands, arts and craft stalls and a number of artistic shows/competitions by famous artist using a wide variety of different mediums, the art competition named ‘Art at the Met’ is normally hosted at the Metropolitan Park.
Other featured events include:
‘Round the Midnight Jazz Jam:
Breezin’ Stage (The Jacksonville Landing)
9 p.m. – Midnight
The 16 year legacy of the Jacksonville Jazz Festival’s official “‘Round Midnight Jam Session” tradition continues! The jam is hosted annually by the “Kelly/Scott Quintet,” featuring world class jazz artists, DownBeat Magazine award winning vocalist Lisa Kelly, Yamaha trumpet artist JB Scott, award winning pianist Joshua Bowlus, Arturo Sandoval bassist Dennis Marks & Grammy recorded drummer Danny Gottlieb, providing top-notch musical support for the variety of musicians who turn out each year to play. From young, up-and-coming musicians and seasoned pros in the community to festival featured acts and “heavyweights,” you never know who’s going to turn out to share in the improv! This event continues to be one of the festival favorites and will be a feature this year at the Jacksonville Landing’s “Breezin’ Stage.” So bring your horns, guitar, voices and talent to join in, piano, drums, bass/amp & guitar amp provided! Fans, bring a chair to witness the musical jammin’ magic! - Make a Scene Downtown
Youth Jazz Talent Showcase:
Groovin’ Stage (Hemming Plaza)
Jacksonville Jazz Festival is a pleased to bring the Youth Jazz Talent Showcase, a live talent competition open to young jazz singers and musicians. The winner will receive a savings bond to be used expressly for the purpose of furthering his or her musical education. The savings bond may be used toward school tuition or private lessons, specifically in the field of performing arts. Finalists will perform at the Jacksonville Jazz Festival on Saturday, May 25. Winners will be selected by a panel of music adjudicators who specialize in the arts forms of traditional and contemporary jazz and blues. Trophies will be awarded to 1st-3rd place winners. Applicants must be between the ages of 7 and 21. - Make a Scene Downtown
More Photos in the ‘Gallery‘ Tab below.
The line-up for the 2014 Jacksonville Jazz Festival has not yet been announced. Check back regularly for details. Follow us on Facebook, bookmark this page or ⇩ subscribe to line-up notifications ⇩:
If you’ve heard of any rumors of who might be playing or headlining then please leave them in the comments below (also in the tabbed section).
Previous years line-ups have included the following great artists: Miles Davis, Robert Cray, Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, Dizzy Gillespie, George Benson, Al Jarreau, Diane Schuur, Patti Austin, Buddy Guy, Branford Marsalis, Count Basie Orchestra, Diana Krall, Herbie Hancock, Ramsey Lewis Trio, Rippingtons, Chuck Mangione, Chris Botti, David Sanborn, Pamela Williams, Chick Corea, Spyro Gyra, Dianne Reeves, David Benoit & Boney James to name a few.
The 2013 line-up was as follows:
BWB featuring Rick Braun, Kirk Whalum and Norman Brown
Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue
Rachelle Ferrell with the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra
YellowjacketsBig Bad Voodoo Daddy
Yellow Dog Jazz Band
Just Jazz Quartet
John Ricci Quartet
Von Barlow’s Jazz Journey
St. Johns River City BandThe Katz Downstairz
Tropic of Cancer
Firecracker Jazz Band
JB Scott’s Swingin’ Allstars
Linda Cole & The Joshua Bowlus Quartet
Also find a photo of the past line-up:
The Jacksonville Jazz Festival takes place over multiple venues:
- The Florida Theatre (Thursday, May 23)
- Swingin’ Stage presented by the Jacksonville Aviation Authority (Monroe Street between Main and Ocean streets)
- Groovin’ Stage (Hemming Plaza)
- Breezin’ Stage (The Jacksonville Landing)
In 2014 you can also expect ‘Jazz After Dark’ which is a continuation of the festival until the early hours in participating local bars and clubs. Entrance is free and events normally finish around 2am. A few of the main participating venues:
The Jacksonville Jazz Festival is a free event but if you want to have the ‘VIP’ experience you can buy an ‘Experience Jazz VIP Package’ for $240 or the ‘All that Jazz VIP Package’ for $275. More information on the official tickets page alternatively you can order tickets over the phone: (904) 630-3690.
The package includes access to preferred seating, festival parking, swag, and more.
Alternatively you can get a ‘Preferred Seating Jazz Pass’ or $60-$80 per day.
** The “Experience Jazz” VIP package includes six (6) drink tickets. The “All That Jazz” VIP package includes three (3) drink tickets.
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The nearest international airport to Jacksonville Jazz Festival is the Jacksonville International Airport (JAX) and is located approximately 20 miles from the Metropolitan Park.
To get to Jacksonville from the airport you can get a taxi (around $30 one-way); the official taxi service of the airport is Gator City Taxi (Service is available at the entrance to JIA, or call Gator City Taxi at (904) 741-0008 or (904) 355-8294.), alternatively you could rent a car from a number of the following companies that operate from the airport:
- Advantage Car Rental - (904) 741-0100
- Avis - (904) 741-2327
- Enterprise - (904) 741-6390
- Hertz - (904) 741-2151
- Thrifty - (800) 847-4389
- Budget - (904) 741-9910
The cheapest accommodation options I could find in and around Jacksonville, Florida during the festival period (late May) are shown below (Full list here.):
*** Hotel prices rise exponentially as you get closer to the festival date. Book early. ***
If you are on a super shoe-string budget you can always check out HostelWorld and get a bed in Jacksonville for as little as $20.38! - (Private rooms $20.50+)
If you’re travelling with a bit of wonga then you might like to check out the Casa Monica Hotel in Saint Augustine, Florida – which has been voted by many as one of the best hotels in Florida.
As always, I would also recommend checking Jacksonville hotel reviews on TripAdvisor prior to placing your booking.
Note that there is NO TENT CAMPING at the Jacksonville Jazz Festival. However, you are allowed to ‘camp’ in your RV or Motorhome at the nearby Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park. More information on camping cam be found at the Camping section at VisitJacksonville.com.
We currently have not been able to interview anybody at the Jacksonville 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.
Video Highlights of Jacksonville Jazz Festival 2009
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If you’re coming to Jacksonville purely for the Jazz fest then you might as well take a couple of days to see some other attractions in the area. Some of the most popular things you can get up to:
- Catty Shack Ranch Wildlife Sanctuary
- The Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens
- Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra
- Jacksonville Zoo & Gardens
- The Florida Theatre
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 galleries, live festival news, transport information in the tabbed section below. All festival listings are changing continuously, check back regularly.
- Wikipedia Page on Jacksonville Jazz Festival
- Top 20 UNUSUAL (but somehow essential?!!) Festival Items
- Jacksonville Jazz Festival on Yelp.com
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