Local music lovers are set to descend upon downtown Jacksonville over Memorial Day weekend for the 39th annual Jacksonville Jazz Festival.
This year’s festival is headlined by seven-time Grammy Award winner Gladys Knight and also features Brian Culbertson, Terence Blanchard featuring The E-Collective, Norman Brown, Kirk Whalum, Monty Alexander, Ledisi, Avery*Sunshine, Delfeayo Marsalis Quintet, The Sax Pack with Steve Cole, Jeff Kashiwa, and Kim Waters, Jamison Ross, the Alfredo Rodriguez Trio, Marcus Johnson, Greg Adams and East Bay Soul, Jazmin Ghent, the Camila Meza Quartet, Moonchild, Brass-A-Holics, and more regional and local artists.
The festivities kick off on Thursday at 7:00 PM at The Florida Theatre with the Jacksonville Jazz Piano Competition presented by Keyboard Connection Piano & Organs showcasing five finalists competing for a cash prize and a chance to perform on the main stage during the festival. This event is ticket-only, with tickets available online or through the theatre’s box office.
The full, free street festival opens on Friday at 6:00 PM. Artists will perform on two stages: the Swingin’ Stage presented by Jacksonville Aviation Authority on the front lawn of the Duval County Courthouse, and the Groovin’ Stage presented by First Coast Acura Dealers at Hemming Park. Performances will go from 6:15 PM to 11:00 PM on Friday, 3:15 PM to 11:00 PM on Saturday, and 3:15 PM to 10:00 PM on Sunday.
“The Jazz Festival is such an exciting tradition for Jacksonville, bringing the best jazz artists year after year, straight to the heart of our city,” says Mayor Lenny Curry. “It’s an honor to provide this free and fun entertainment for the thousands of music fans that come from around the country and make this part of their Memorial Day weekend.”
Other activities over the weekend include the Omni Sacred Jazz Brunch featuring Grammy-award nominee and Jax native Jamison Ross, the Jazz Jam at Breezy Jazz Club, and a Jazz Clinic at Ritz Theatre and Museum.
For more information as well as the full schedule of events, check out the festival’s website at jacksonvillejazzfest.com.