Disclaimer: Due to COVID-19 concerns, many events might be canceled, postponed, or changed into limited versions, sometimes at very short notice. Please check with event organizers directly for the latest updates (view the "External Resources" section below).
One of the most vibrant jazz events in Florida, Jacksonville Jazz Festival is held during the Memorial Day Weekend in downtown Jacksonville. The admission to open-air concerts and performances is free of charge.
The spectacular main stage is placed on the lawn at the Duval County Courthouse, where the biggest headliners perform every evening. Concerts also take place at Hemming Plaza, the Florida Theatre, and at Pearl and Adams Streets intersection. One of the festival's highlights is the Jacksonville Jazz Piano Competition where five finalists compete for cash prizes. There's also jazz clinics and many events for aspiring musicians.
The festival, which has been held since 1979, has hosted such performers as Natalie Cole, Greg Adams, Miles Davies, Karrin Allyson, Patti Austin, Count Basie Orchestra, David Benoit, George Benson, Chris Botti, Buddy Guy, Michael Bublé, Chick Corea, Robert Cray, Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, Dizzy Gillespie, and Herbie Hancock.
The festival also set up Jazz Marketplace in downtown Jacksonville: arts and crafts fair for musicians and various creators, with artwork ranging from clay, fiber, and glass to digital and mixed media.