Top 25 Jazz Events and Jazz Festivals in the USA
Jazz events are sometimes referred to as “the only true American art form".
Highlights of the jazz movement belong in Louisiana but in other places in the USA as well. The longest running jazz festival in the world, for example, is in Monterey, California and the second largest, and widely considered to be one of the best in the USA, takes place in Jacksonville, Florida.
Here is Top Events USA selection of the main top 25 jazz events and jazz festivals taking place in the USA.
North Carolina Jazz Festival (NCJF)
Wilmington, North Carolina
A popular event for more than 32 years, the North Carolina Jazz Festival (NCJF) in Wilmington, North Carolina offers a wide range of the greatest traditional jazz musicians from around the globe, concerts/workshops with all star musicians, a jazz education program, and the ever popular half-hour concerts featuring an all-star musician lineup in a traditional presentation of 7 sets, each with a different leader.
For more information about the North Carolina Jazz Festival (NCJF) visit:
Portland Jazz Festival
Lasting ten days and taking place in various venues across Portland, the largest city in Oregon, the Portland Jazz Festival is recognized as one of the most important jazz festivals in the USA and one of the main top 25 jazz events and jazz festivals. Presenting internationally recognized and local musicians playing a wide-range of jazz styles, this festival also celebrates Black History Month, an annual remembrance of important people and events in the history of African Americans.
For more information about the Portland Jazz Festival visit:
Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival
For over 40 years the Lionel Hampton International Jazz Festival at the University of Idaho has combined the skills of jazz greats and the talents of students from all levels from elementary school to college to create an event celebrating the magic of jazz. From a one-day event, the Lionel Hampton International Jazz Festival has grown into a music packed, four-day experience. Visitors and musicians alike boogie with the best at this musical extravaganza. More than 50 of the world's greatest jazz artists conduct workshops and participate in concert performances.
For more information about the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival in Moscow visit:
Jazz in the Gardens
Now attracting more than 45,000 guests every year, the Jazz in the Gardens festival is one of the most highly regarded and anticipated music festival events in the country recognized as one of the main top 20 jazz events and jazz festivals in the US. Showcasing Grammy award-winning artists such as Ms. Lauryn Hill, Charlie Wilson, Al Jarreau, and Gladys Knight, this weekend jazz festival in Miami features everything you would expect of what is now becoming one of the most popular jazz events in the USA. There is also a wide offering of foods and all sorts of merchandise.
For more information about Jazz in the Gardens visit:
Gene Harris Jazz Festival
Attracting a multitude of fans for over 15 years, the Gene Harris Jazz Festival is a great educational and entertaining experience for all. The festival includes a wide variety of events including performances by jazz all-stars from around the country offering all forms of jazz music, as well as student competitions and clinics.
For more information about the Gene Harris Jazz Festival in Boise visit:
FirstEnergy Berks Jazz Fest
This 10-day smooth jazz festival, a tradition for almost 20 years, is held annually in March, and offers more than 130 concerts, lunches, brunches, workshops, worship services, happy hours and midnight jam sessions to the public. Past performers include The Manhattan Transfer, US Air Force Rhythm In Blue Jazz Ensemble, Jason Miles, Kim Waters, Jeff Kashiwa, Walter Beasley, Deodato, Marion Meadows, Paul Jackson Jr, David Mann, Jaared, Jay Beckenstein, Maria Muldaur, Paul Brown to name just a few. More than 4,500 people attend the event each year.
For more information about the FirstEnergy Berks Jazz Fest in Reading visit:
Ella Fitzgerald Music Festival
mid - late April
Newport News, Virginia
Celebrating the life and music of Ella Fitzgerald, dubbed “The First Lady of Song”, this popular, 5-day, jazz music festival has been a major event in Virginia for more than a decade attracting the world’s finest jazz artists.
For more information about the Ella Fitzgerald Music Festival in Newport News visit:
Reno Jazz Festival
University of Nevada – Reno, Nevada
One of the biggest jazz festivals in the country for half a century, the Reno Jazz Festival has been the main reason for April being named “Jazz Festival Month” in Reno and has attracted more than 300,000 students and jazz lovers with a wide selection of live bands, guest artists, school bands, jazz clinics and workshops, concerts, competitions and more.
For more information about the Reno Jazz Festival visit:
Jacksonville Jazz Festival
The second largest, and considered one of the best jazz festivals in the US, and one of the top 25jazz events and jazz festivals in the USA, the Jacksonville Jazz Festival weekend is a street festival held in the heart of downtown Jacksonville. Part of the fun is The Great American Jazz Piano competition, Art in the Heart Art Show & Sale and Wine Down: A Wine Tasting Experience. Past artists include Dizzy Gillespie, Roberta Flack, Boney James, Miles Davis, George Benson, the Count Basie Orchestra, Diana Krall, Herbie Hancock, Chris Botti, Rippingtons, Kenny G, and Harry Connick Jr.
For more information about the Jacksonville Jazz Festival take a look at:
or visit: http://www.jaxjazzfest.com
Atlanta Jazz Festival
The Atlanta Jazz Festival is recognized as one of the largest FREE jazz festivals in North America. Featuring an annual musical showcase including show-stopping performances at Piedmont Park, the festival presents famous jazz legends and up-and-coming jazz greats. The Atlanta Jazz Festival takes place in venues throughout metropolitan Atlanta during the entire month of May and culminates during Memorial Day weekend.
For more information about the Atlanta Jazz Festival visit:
Burlington Discover Jazz Festival
An annual festival for more than a quarter of a century, the 10-day Burlington Discover Jazz Festival in all parts of downtown Burlington showcases local, regional and international jazz artists taking part in performances in intimate venues, waterfront concerts, street parties, cruises on Lake Champlain, meet-the-artist sessions, master Classes, workshops and more.
For more information about the Burlington Discover Jazz Festival visit:
Playboy Jazz Festival
Los Angeles, California
An event he is proud of starting, Hugh Hefner hosts the increasingly popular Playboy Jazz Festival at the famed Hollywood Bowl. The Playboy Jazz Festival, a popular attraction for over 34 years, takes place over a weekend with concerts both day and evening. Programs have featured the likes of Buddy Guy, Dianne Reeves, the Roots, the Eddie Palmieri Salsa Orchestra, Harmony 3 with Ronnie Laws, Walter Beasley, Stanley Jordan, and more.
For more information about the Playboy Jazz Festival visit:
Saratoga Jazz Festival
Saratoga Springs, New York
Using the sub title “Two days of friends, food, and great jazz!” the Saratoga Jazz Festival, featuring over 20 world-class jazz artists each year, including the likes of George Wein, Michael McDonald, and Dee Dee Bridgewater, is now one of the most popular jazz festivals and summer events in the area.
For more information about the Saratoga Jazz Festival visit:
Rochester International Jazz Festival
Rochester, New York
With all performances at 8pm at the Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre, the Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival, a Rochester tradition for 10 years, offers an impressive line-up of stars and talent. Attracting more than 165,000 visitors each year, the jazz festival showcases 250 concerts over 9 days in June each year.
For more information about the Rochester International Jazz Festival visit:
Fillmore Street Jazz Festival
early July Independence Day weekend
San Francisco, California
Attracting more than 100,000 people each year, the Fillmore Street Jazz Festival is the largest free Jazz festival on the West Coast, offering live music – from seasoned crooners belting out jazz favorites to equally popular Latin flavored acts – on several stages. As well as the music of the event, other features include more than 300 booths of fine art and crafts, from painting to pottery, and a wide selection of international, gourmet food and beverages.
For more information about the Fillmore Street Jazz Festival visit:
Greater Hartford Festival of Jazz
The largest FREE jazz event in New England, attracting more than 50,000 jazz enthusiasts each year, the Greater Hartford Festival of Jazz features 3 days of quality jazz music performed by internationally acclaimed musicians at the main stage in Bushnell Park, and equally noteworthy music performances by talented local and regional artists at the market place at Trinity Street. The Greater Hartford Festival of Jazz is one of the biggest, growing events of Hartford, Connecticut.
For more information about the Greater Hartford Festival of Jazz visit:
Great Connecticut Traditional Jazz Fest
The largest festival in all of the Northeast featuring old time jazz, the Great Connecticut Traditional Jazz Festival showcases New Orleans style Dixieland, hot jazz, big band sounds, swing and jug band music being played simultaneously in 4 venues all weekend with 18 bands from all over the US (including one directly from New Orleans). The Great Connecticut Traditional Jazz Fest offers plenty of fun for the whole family – swimming pool, tennis courts, and activities for the children, dancing and dance lessons all weekend, a gospel service on Sunday and an antique car show.
For more information about the Great Connecticut Traditional Jazz Fest in Meriden visit:
Newport Jazz Festival
Newport, Rhode Island
The first-ever jazz festival in the USA, and now one of the most popular in the country, Newport Jazz Festival, a spectacular 3-day outdoor event in Newport’s Fort Adams State Park, has featured renowned artists such as Ella Fitzgerald, Duke Ellington, John Coltrane and Miles Davis, Tony Bennett, Diana Krall, Harry Connick, Jr., Wynton Marsalis and many more.
For more information about the Newport Jazz Festival take a look at:
or visit: http://www.newportjazzfest.net
Litchfield Jazz Festival
Going strong for 15 years, the Litchfield Jazz Festival in the Goshen Fairgrounds offering jazz music “in the tent” as well as outdoors on the lawn features an opening night gala followed by three days of jazz, performances by students from the Litchfield Jazz Camp, a juried craft show with a “kid’s corner”, a specific tent called the “Artist Talk Tent” for artist appearances and interviews and plenty of food stalls to complete the experience and the fun.
For more information about the Litchfield Jazz Festival in Goshen visit:
Detroit Jazz Festival
late August / early September (Labor Day Weekend)
A popular event for over 34 years, the Detroit International Jazz Festival is one of the world’s premier jazz festivals that takes place over several city blocks in downtown Detroit and which features more than 100 acts taking part on five stages in four days. Apart from the popular concerts, the Detroit Art Festival also offers educational activities for adults and children such as the Jazz Talk Tent and the Kid Bop Area, fireworks, late-night jam sessions, and unique opportunities to meet the artists involved.
For more information about the Detroit Jazz Festival visit:
Chicago Jazz Festival
late August / early September
For over 30 years, the Chicago Jazz Festival, a popular Labor Day weekend event appealing to a jazz audience of all ages has showcased all types of jazz music with local, national and international talent. Originating as a festival to honor Duke Ellington, the Chicago Jazz Festival now attracts more than 150,000 fans each year and is considered one of the most extensive free jazz festivals in the world.
For more information about the Chicago Jazz Festival visit:
Indy Jazz Fest
A popular jazz event for more than 13 years, the six day Indy Jazz Fest, attracting jazz artists, soloists, instrumentalists, and bands, such as Ray Charles, the Aaron Diehl Trio, Al Green, Yellowjackets, Dave Brubeck, Jonny Lang, The Headhunters, Kevin Mahogany, Freda Payne, and George Benson, Cassandra Wilson and more, draws more than 60,000 fans each year from over 35 US states and eight different countries.
For more information about the Indy Jazz Fest visit:
Monterey Jazz Festival
The longest running jazz festival in the world, and one of the top 25 jazz events and jazz festivals in the USA, held every September on the Monterey Fairgrounds site where the Festival was first presented in 1958, the Monterey Jazz Festival presents the best jazz performers in the world for a three-day celebration of the best in jazz. In addition, the Monterey Jazz Festival features jazz conversations, panel discussions, workshops, exhibitions, clinics, and an international array of food, shopping and festivities spread throughout the 20-acre Monterey Fairgrounds. The Monterey Jazz Festival is a nonprofit organization and has donated its proceeds to musical education since its inception.
For more information about the Monterey Jazz Festival visit:
San Diego Jazz Fest
week of Thanksgiving – late November
San Diego, California
One of the world’s premier traditional jazz events known as "the crown jewel of jazz festivals", the San Diego Jazz Fest, has been a popular Plymouth of the West attraction for more than three decades. Attracting over 6,000 jazz enthusiasts from all over the world, the San Diego Jazz Fest features more than 25 bands presenting over 180 hours of music in seven venues over five days, offering a wide variety of traditional jazz, dixieland and swing styles with everything from blues, swing and jump music to high school Dixieland bands and even Sunday morning Gospel music.
For knowledge concerning the San Diego Jazz Fest view:
updated Top 20 Events USA pages do not include every single event on offer in each state or city in America – only those recognized as one of the top 20 in each location, elected by residents, tourists and visitors, the team of travel writers working for Top Events USA, and some officials of the relevant states and cities of the USA too.