8. The Greater Hartford Festival of Jazz
The Greater Hartford Festival of Jazz is a single-stage event located in downtown Hartford, Connecticut. Interestingly, Hartford is the birthplace of jazz alto saxophonist Jackie McLean who was elected to the Down Beat Hall of Fame in the same year that he died.
Khani Cole, Chuck Mangione, and Los Hombres Calientes have at some point all played the main stage at this festival. Organizers encourage packing everything you’ll need to stay the whole day and night, which means that seating, food, and drink may be brought from home. All four nights of the festival are totally free.
7. Ann Arbor Blues and Jazz Festival
Starting as an outdoor concert in 1969, the Ann Arbor Blues and Jazz Festival, in Ann Arbor, Michigan has become a full weekend festival that includes blues and jazz performances in three different venues. The Gallup Park concert series takes place Saturday and Sunday in this 70-acre (280,000 m2) park straddling the Huron River in northeast Ann Arbor.
The Michigan Theater is an art deco jewel box where the largest evening concert of the festival takes place. The Bird of Paradise Jazz Club is an intimate club that attracts jazz lovers (typically two-by-two) to Friday and Saturday night concerts.
Amazingly, the festival is an all-volunteer, non-profit event, supported by volunteers and the local administration. B.B. King, Muddy Waters, and Howlin’ Wolf have all lent their esteem to the stages of this event. The festival has expanded to include children’s areas, community education, and outreach, as well as a popular “Meet the Artist” program. Prices vary by set and venue, although entire festival passes can be purchased at that year’s set price.
6. Jazz At The Lake
Jazz At The Lake, held at beautiful Lake George, New York and is a part of the Lake George Arts Project. The festival has been taking place for 33 years. There is even a documentary about it “Jazz At The Lake: 30 Years”. The festival is held in Shepard Park, which dates to the early 1900’s. Jazz At The Lake has a history of bringing some of the finest jazz musicians to town and this year is no different. Artists include the Brubeck Brothers Quartet, Charenee Wade, the Lao Tizer Quartet, the Diva Jazz Orchestra, the Edmar Castenada and the Amina Figora Sextet. Admission is free.
5. Rehoboth Beach Jazz Festival
The Rehoboth Beach Jazz Festival is a four-day festival in Southern Delaware. One stage is set up at the Bay Center in Dewey Beach. The other three stages are the Cape Henlopen Performing Arts Theatre, Epworth United Methodist Church, and the Rehoboth Beach Elementary School. Such unique venues ensured that the festival would become truly tied into the fabric of the community. The chart-topping saxophonist, Mr. Boney James, played there in 2014. Tickets vary depending on the show, so we recommend checking the website in advance to plan your nights.
4. Concord Jazz Festival
The Concord Jazz Festival is an annual tradition that started by a Concord, California entrepreneur and jazz enthusiast 1969. His name is Carl Jefferson, and he also founded Concord Records in 1973. In 2004, the Concord Music Group was formed when Concord Records merged with Fantasy Records to become a classic album source. Past performers included Oscar Peterson, Pearl Bailey, George Shearing and Ella Fitzgerald. The most current pricing information is available through ticket agents.