Exciting New Offerings for Jazz Fest Lovers

April 10, 2018  
man playing drums at jazz fest

New locations add more space and highlight downtown area.

The 2018 Jacksonville Jazz Festival, to be hosted over Memorial Day weekend May 24-27 in downtown Jacksonville, is sure to excite music lovers with new venue locations and an impressive lineup of award-winning performers.
The Swingin’ Stage, presented by the Jacksonville Aviation Authority, has been relocated from the corner of Main and West Adams streets to the front lawn of the Duval County Courthouse, a building recognized for its stately presence and architecture. The Groovin’ Stage, presented by Jacksonville Acura Dealers, returns to Hemming Park, and the Breezin’ Stage is now located at the corner of Adams and Main streets.
"The City of Jacksonville is looking forward to hosting another year of talented performers and exciting events taking center stage at the 2018 Jacksonville Jazz Festival,” said Mayor Lenny Curry. “We are so fortunate to have one of the region’s signature events right here in our city, attracting thousands near and far. The Jazz Fest is a prime contributor to the momentum that our thriving performing arts and culture industry is enjoying downtown.”
The festival kicks off Thursday, May 24, at The Florida Theatre with the Jacksonville Jazz Piano Competition, presented by Keyboard Connection Piano & Organs. The competition features five finalists chosen by a blind panel of judges. They will compete for a cash prize and a chance to perform on the main stage at this year’s festival. Doors open at 6 p.m. and the competition begins at 7 p.m. Tickets are available for purchase through the theater box office or online at Floridatheatre.com.
The street-festival opens to patrons Friday, May 25 at 5 p.m. with performances from 5:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. On Saturday, May 26, the festival opens at 2 p.m. with performances from 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. The final day of the festival, Sunday, May 27, opens at 2 p.m. with performances from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m.
The three day-long festival features a number of award-winning artists including Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, Sheila E., The Bad Plus, Euge Groove, The Pete Escovedo Orchestra with special guests Jimmy Bosch and Chembo Corneil, Ulysses Owens, Jr. Trio, The 4 Korners, Grace Kelly, Jane Bunnett & Maqueque, and Lohai; alongside local favorites such as The Chris Thomas Band, UNF Jazz Ensemble, and the Douglas Anderson Jazz Ensemble 1.
Other festival activities include the Omni Sacred Jazz Brunch featuring the Noel Freidline Quartet with vocalist Maria Howell, the Jazz Clinic, the Second Line Jazz Parade, the Jazz Marketplace and the Official Jazz Store. In addition, Jazz After Dark returns Friday and Saturday from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. at numerous locations throughout downtown Jacksonville.
The festival is free and open to the public unless otherwise listed. Attendees are able to enhance their festival experience with all-new enhanced VIP package options. Information regarding festival details, VIP packages, and more can be found at JaxJazzFest.com.
About the Jacksonville Jazz Festival
Founded in 1980, the Jacksonville Jazz Festival is produced by the City of Jacksonville Office of Special Events with support from the Jacksonville Aviation Authority, Jacksonville Acura Dealers, Heineken, Lowe’s, JEA, Omni Jacksonville Hotel, Keyboard Connection Pianos & Organs, Miller Lite, Coca-Cola, AT&T, the Lasik Vision Institute, Jacksonville Business Journal, (904) Happy Hour, JTA, SMG, The Florida Theatre, Jacksonville Tourist Development Council, and Visit Jacksonville. For information on the Jacksonville Jazz Festival, visit www.JaxJazzFest.com.
About the City of Jacksonville Office of Sports and Entertainment
The City of Jacksonville’s Office of Sports and Entertainment attracts, hosts and creates opportunities that drive economic impact, accelerate the Jacksonville brand and improve the quality of life and cultural engagement for visitors and residents. Jacksonville hosts hundreds of diverse events each year making Northeast Florida a premier destination with rich tradition and world-class hospitality. The Sports and Entertainment office includes the Office of Special Events and the Film and Television Office.