Here is what must happen

If there is one consistent thing about the Jacksonville Jazz Festival, it’s change. For over 40 years, it has been in Mayport, Metropolitan Park and the streets of downtown. It was spring and it was fall. It’s free and it’s paid. It’s run by a radio station and it’s run by the city. Some years it didn’t happen at all.

This year’s version is Friday, Saturday and Sunday on two outdoor stages along the riverfront in downtown Jacksonville.

Here’s what you need to know.

Where is the 2021 Jacksonville Jazz Festival?

The Jazz Festival will be played on two stages this year. The Swingin ‘stage will be at Riverfront Plaza, where The Jacksonville Landing once stood. The Groovin ‘Stage will be at Ford on Bay, a riverside location a few blocks on Bay Street near the Hyatt Regency.

Who plays at the Jacksonville Jazz Festival?

Some of the biggest names in jazz are programmed to perform. Stanley Clarke has won four Grammy Awards (plus another with his fusion group, Return to Forever). Bob James is also comfortable playing jazz or classical music and is best known for writing the theme song for “Taxi”. Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds wrote or produced hits for the biggest names in R&B and released 16 Top 10 R&B hits. Jeffrey Osborne was the frontman of the 1970s R&B hitmakers LTD before embarking on a solo career that l he saw 11 Top 10 singles released. Najee is one of the industry’s most sought-after saxophone and flute players. Cecile McLorin Salvant has three Grammys for Best Jazz Vocal Album on her shelf. Sheila E, who performed at the Jazz Festival in 2018, grew up in a jazz family and became a big star in the ’80s working with Prince.

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How much do the tickets cost?

The festival is free, but preferred seating and “VIP Festival Experience packages” are available for $ 59 to $ 349.

What are the festival hours?

On Friday, the festival is open from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. music starts at 4:45 p.m. on Saturday, it’s open from 2 p.m. to 11 p.m., with music from 3 p.m. On Sunday the doors are open from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. with music from 3 p.m.

Doors? What doors?

The festival area will have secure entry points, where bags will be inspected. The entry points will be on Hogan, Laura and Ocean streets, south of Bay Street; on Bay Street between Union Street and Market Street; at Newnan Street and Independent Drive; and on the docks of Riverfront Plaza.

What should i bring with me?

A chair and an umbrella are always good ideas. This year’s festival will be cashless, so be sure to bring credit or debit cards. Things you cannot bring: coolers, tents, grills, alcohol, beverages other than those in a factory sealed container, picnic and catering meals, weapons, roller skates, skateboards, bikes, scooters, projectiles, frisbees, noise makers, drones and signs larger than 2 feet by 3 feet.

What if it rains?

It’s an event rain or shine. The stages will be covered, but not the fan seats. In the event of extreme weather conditions, some performances may be postponed or canceled.

Where can I park?

There is no designated parking for the festival, but downtown garages and street parking will be available on a first come, first served basis.

Will the Skyway work?

The aerial Skyway will operate for extended hours during the festival. It will take place from 6 a.m. to midnight on Friday, from 1 p.m. to midnight on Saturday and from 1 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Sunday. The King Street parking garage will also be open for free parking during festival hours. The Skyway is free and the central station is the closest to the festival.

What else is going on?

In addition to free music from the two main stages, there are a number of other events associated with the festival.

• Saxophonist Tia Fuller, who performs on the Swingin ‘Stage Saturday afternoon, runs a free jazz clinic at 4:30 pm Friday at the Douglas Anderson School of the Arts.

• Percussionist Giancarlo Anderson and horn player Francisco Torres of the Poncho Sanchez Latin Jazz Band, run free clinics at 10 am and 11:15 am on Saturdays at the Ritz Theater.

• A second Jazz Parade line begins near the base of the Main Street Bridge and winds through Riverfront Plaza down Independent Drive to the Groovin ‘Stage location at 4 pm Saturday.

• The John Lumpkin Trio will conduct a Jazz Jam from 9 pm to midnight on Saturday in the VyStar Breezeway, opposite the Swingin ‘stage. It’s free and you never know who will show up.

• Camille Thurman and the Darrell Green Quartet headline the Sacred Jazz Brunch, with seating at 10 am and 12:30 pm Sundays at the Jacksonville River City Downtown hotel (formerly the Omni). $ 54 to $ 74.

• A fireworks display is scheduled on the Saint John River between the Main Street and Acosta bridges at 11 pm Saturday.

Jacksonville Jazz Festival performance schedule


4:45 p.m .: Let’s Ride Jazz Band, Groovin ‘Stage

5.15 p.m .: Marcus Click, Swingin ‘stage

6 p.m .: Theo Croker, Groovin ‘Stage

6:45 p.m .: Jacksonville Jazz Piano Competition, Swingin ‘Stage

7:30 p.m .: Stephon Harris & Blackout, Groovin ‘Stage

7:45 p.m .: Jeffrey Osborne, Swingin ‘stage

9:15 p.m .: Lalah Hathaway, Groovin ‘stage

9:30 p.m .: Najee with Phil Perry and Bobby Lyle, Swingin ‘Stage


3 p.m .: Party in a Box with Allana, Swingin ‘Stage

3 p.m .: Elisha “Atlas” Parris, Groovin ‘Stage

4:15 p.m .: Kandace Springs, Swingin ‘stage

4:15 p.m .: Mark Allen Felton, Groovin ‘stage

5.45 p.m .: Emmaline, Groovin ‘stage

6 p.m .: Tia Fuller, swingin ‘stage

7.15 p.m .: Poncho Sanchez, Groovin ‘Stage

7:45 p.m .: Cécile McLorin Salvant, Swingin ‘stage

9 p.m .: EFX Allstars Special, Groovin ‘Stage

9:30 p.m .: Sheila E, Swingin ‘stage


3 p.m .: Melissa Case, Swingin ‘scene

3 p.m .: Douglas Anderson School of the Arts Jazz Ensemble I, Groovin ‘Stage

4:30 p.m .: The Baylor Project, Swingin ‘Stage

4:30 p.m .: Terri Lyne Carrington & Social Sciences, Groovin ‘Stage

6 p.m .: Kurt Elling and Charlie Hunter, Groovin ‘Stage

6:15 p.m .: Bob James, Swingin ‘scene

8 p.m .: Stanley Clarke, Groovin ‘Stage

8:30 p.m .: Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds, Swingin ‘Stage

Willie J. Johnson

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