by: Admin in Events No Comments  

It’s been the talk of the town for months, and now the annual Jacksonville Jazz Fest is finally here and back in the #DTJax core! Beginning in 1981, the Jazz Fest has become a staple in our city and we’re happy to see it back in #DTJax! We’ve put together this handy guide to let you know everything about the four day festival so you don’t miss a beat.


 Buy this year’s poster here!


The Rundown

The Jacksonville Jazz Festival has played an integral role in Jacksonville for decades. The festival celebrates jazz, a genre of music which has historical and cultural significance in Jacksonville, especially in the core. The free festival will span from Thursday, May 26 till Sunday, May 29 and will feature three stages of entertainment. The Swingin’ Stage, presented by the Jacksonville Aviation Authority, is the main stage and will be located at the corner of Main and Adams streets. The Groovin’ stage will be located in Hemming Park and The Breezin’ Stage will be located at The Jacksonville Landing.

This year is nothing short of eventful with not only tons of amazing jazz acts, but also food vendors and the exciting new addition of the Jazz Marketplace. The Marketplace is equal parts Art Walk and street bazaar where jazz enthusiasts can also shop for locally-made jewelry, art and more which will open along Laura Street:

Friday, May 27th: 4­-11 PM

Saturday, May 28th: 1-­11 PM

Sunday, May 29th: 1­-10 PM


Click here for a printable PDF Map.

Click here for a printable PDF event program.


Jazz Fest: Thursday, May 26

Thursday is the kick-off to Jazz Fest with a tradition that has become synonymous with the event itself: The Piano Competition. Presented by Keyboard Connection, it continues to be one of the most exciting musical spectacles to be seen anywhere, live at the Florida Theatre beginning at 7 p.m.! Five finalists representing the very best jazz pianists in the world are chosen by a blind panel of judges to compete for a cash prize and a chance to perform on the Main Stage at this year’s festival. This fierce competition has become an integral part of the festival and a favorite among many eager to witness some of the most incredible rising talent in the jazz world.

Tickets to the Jacksonville Jazz Piano Competition are $13.50 and can be bought here or come free with the purchase of a VIP ticket.

             Jazz Fest: Friday, May 27 

Let the street festival begin! Head to #DTJax after work, as the show starts at 4 p.m.! Along with live music, you will be able to peruse the streets in the Jazz Marketplace and enjoy all the various participating venues Downtown. Don’t miss the Young Professionals Night at Jazz Fest at the Florida Theatre which includes access VIP to Jazz Fest the rest of Friday night!

  ~Main Street Swingin’ Stage~

 5:30 – 7:30 : Chris Godber

Snarky-Puppy7:30 – 9:00 : Dr. John

9:30 – 11:00 : Snarky Puppy

~Hemming Park Groovin’ Stage~

5:00 – 6:00 : Longineu Parsons Ensemble

6:30 – 8:00 : Benny Golson Quartet

8:30 – 10:00 : McCoy Tyner

~The Landing Breezin’ Stage~

5:30 – 6:30 : UNF Jazz Ensemble I

7:00 – 8:30 : Spice & the Po’ Boys

9:00 – Midnight : Jazz Jam Session

Jazz Fest: Saturday, May 28

Start the day off with a free Jazz Clinic at the Ritz Theatre and Museum. Aspiring and accomplished jazz musicians of all ages are invited to learn and grow their skills but pace is limited for this unique and personal experience so register here. Also, don’t miss out on the Jazz Parade! In true New Orleans fashion, the parade will begin at the corner of Monroe and Laura Streets winding down Main Street to Forsyth Street and back up Laura Street, ending in Hemming Park.

                ~Main Street Swingin Stage~

  2:30 – 3:00 :  Jazz Piano Competition winner

    3:30 – 5:00 : Warren Wolf & The Wolfpack


                           5:30 – 7:00 : Somi

     7:30 – 9:00 : Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah

        9:30 – 11:00 : Jon Batiste & Stay Human

             ~Hemming Park Groovin’ Stage~

        2:00 – 3:00 : DA Jazz Band

                  3:30 – 5:00 : Charenée Wade

                     5:30 – 7:00 : Lizz Wright

                      7:30 – 9:00 : Ken Ford

                                      9:30 – 11:00 : Yellowjackets

                                    ~The Landing Breezin’ Stage~

                                 2:00 – 3:00 : The JU Jazz Faculty

                               3:30 – 4:30 : The Chris Thomas Band

                                    5:00 – 6:00 : Terry “Doc” Handy

                  6:30 – 7:30 : Mark Pender presented by Buffet Crampon

  8:00 – 9:30 : Generation neXt featuring Nicholas Cole, Lin Rountree & Lebron

Jazz Fest: Sunday, May 29

The Omni Sacred Jazz Brunch returns for 2016 more delicious than ever! Lift your spirits and dine on a buffet of gourmet cuisine prepared by the expert chefs of the Omni Jacksonville Hotel as renowned jazz artists serenade you with their unique blend of jazz and traditional gospel music. There is truly no better way to bid farewell to the Jacksonville Jazz Festival than this perfect sensory experience, so grab your tickets now.

~Omni Sacred Jazz Brunch at Omni Hotel~

11:00 – 2:00 : The Noel Freidline Quintet

~Main Street Swingin’ Stage~

2:30 – 4:00 : John Lumpkin and The Covenant

4:30 – 6:00 : Cyrille Aimée


6:30 – 8:00 : Nathan East

8:30 – 10:00 : KEM

~Hemming Park Groovin Stage~

2:30 – 4:00 : Eric Carter & Co.

4:30 – 6:00 : Jamison Ross

6:30 – 8:00 : Dizzy Gillespie™ Afro-Cuban Experience

~The Landing Breezin Stage~

2:00 – 3:00 : Jimmy Beats

3:30 – 4:30 : Gary Starling Group feat. Russell George

5:00 – 6:00 : Pierre & Co.

6:30 – 8:00 : Bobby Lee Rogers Jazz Trio


Jazz Fest After Dark

For over 30 years, the Jacksonville Jazz Festival brought thousands to our Downtown, only to send them home when the sun went down. With the ongoing revitalization of #DTJax, and its ever-growing nightlife scene, why not give these attendees a reason to stay? In 2013, Jazz Fest After Dark was born! This year Jazz Fest After Dark is two nights, 11 stages, 40+ acts and is free. For more information head to the official #JFAD website.

Screen Shot 2016-05-25 at 1.45.08 PM


Getting Around

JTA Skyway

The JTA Skyway is a free and fully automated, non-polluting, monorail transit system operating on an elevated and electrified dual guide way, serving seven locations on both sides of the St. Johns River.

Extended Jazz Fest Hours:

Friday, May 27: 6 a.m. – 2:30 a.m.

Saturday, May 28: 11 a.m. – 2:30 a.m.

Sunday, May 29: 11 a.m. – midnight


  • Rosa L. Parks Transit Station (Hogan and State Streets)
  • Hemming Park (Monroe and Hogan Streets)
  • Central (Bay and Pearl Streets)
  • Convention Center (Bay and Johnson Streets)
  • San Marco (San Marco Boulevard and Mary Street)
  • Riverplace (Flagler Avenue)
  • Kings Avenue (Prudential Drive and Kings Avenue)

St. John’s River Taxi

Take the convenient River Taxi to get around #DTJax this Jazz Fest weekend. Tickets can be purchased on-board any of our designated River Taxi boats. CASH payments only.  Exact change is not required but appreciated.

Extended Jazz Fest Hours:

  • Friday, May 27, 2016: 11 a.m. – 11:30 p.m.
  • Saturday, May 28, 2016: 11 a.m. – 11:30 p.m.
  • Sunday, May 29, 2016: 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.

Service Fares:

  • $5.00 each way



Road Closures

The following road closures will occur in conjunction with the Jacksonville Jazz Festival with closures beginning Thursday, May 26 through Monday, May 30.
  • 7:00 am– Adams St. closure from Hogan St. to Ocean St. (Local business parking and resident parking will have access to Adams St. from Ocean St. with a parking pass).
  • 8:00 am– Laura St. closure from Church St. to Bay St. (Intersections at Forsyth St. and Bay St. will remain open. Northbound lane from Duval St. to Church St. will remain open.)
  • 8:00 am– Closure of East lane only of Hogan St. from Monroe St. to Duval St.
  • 12:00 pm– Duval St. closure from Hogan St. to Laura St.
  • 6:00 pm– Duval St. closure from Main St. to Ocean St.
  • 6:00 pm– Monroe St. closure from Main St. to Ocean St. (Local business parking and resident parking will have access to Monroe St. from Hogan St. with a parking pass).
All roads will reopen Monday, May 30 by noon.
Drivers and pedestrians are asked to exercise caution and obey all traffic laws at these intersections.
A map of road closures can be viewed here.


All information on Jazz Fest can be found here or on their Facebook. Jazz Fest After Dark information can be found here and all other general information regarding anything from parking to dining can be found on our website. We can’t wait to see you all in #DTJax this Memorial Day weekend!

by: admin in Events No Comments  

By Kristina Aviles, DVI Intern


Credit: @JaxJazzFest Twitter

It all began Saturday, Oct. 24, 1981. At the time, Mayor Jake Godbold was looking to bring the Jacksonville community together through music, specifically a genre with a strong, established culture. With organizers only expecting a few hundred people to attend, nearly 25,000 people showed up to see what the inaugural Jacksonville Jazz Festival had in store. Now, in its 35th year, the Jacksonville Jazz Festival is one of the largest, free jazz festivals in the nation.

by: Katherine Hardwick in Downtown Partners, Events, Placemaking, Spotlight No Comments  
Jazz Fest on Bay Street | credit: @dtjax

Jazz Fest on Bay Street

A staple in Downtown since 1982, the Jacksonville Jazz Festival draws thousands of people each May for one of the core’s largest annual events. Now, in its second year, the newest component to the three-day celebration is Jazz Fest After Dark, a free event designed to introduce festival goers to Downtown’s year-round nightlife and live music scene.

Before Jazz Fest After Dark, many bars didn’t see a boost during the festival weekend. Now, with the new late-night festival fixture, the bars not only saw new faces, but reported a big increase in sales.

“We added more venues and more acts, and overall attendance numbers more then doubled.” said event creator and organizer, Jason Lewis. “Our goal is to keep increasing the visibility and stature of Jazz Fest After Dark, each and every year. We feel we accomplished that and more in year two.”

This year, five venues: 1904 Music Hall, Burro Bar, Dive BarUnderbelly and The Volstead opened up the Jazz Fest experience to dozens of amazing local acts, and the Downtown Cigar Lounge and Karpeles Museum provided additional events throughout the weekend.

So how did it go? Here are the bars in are in their own words:

Whole Wheat Bread @ Dive Bar

Whole Wheat Bread @ Dive Bar

“Sales were up 85% vs. an average week. We received lots of compliments on the street layout with plenty of room to walk.”

– Mark Hemphill, owner/operator of the Dive Bar

JacksonVegas @ 1904 Music Hall

JacksonVegas @ 1904 Music Hall

“We doubled last year’s numbers.”
– Jason Hunnicutt, owner of 1904 Music Hall

Naughty Professor @ Underbelly

Naughty Professor @ Underbelly

“Definitely the best weekend of the year in my opinion. Our bar had about a 15-20% increase overall from last year. Awesome bands. Great crowds. Everyone seemed to really enjoy it- we need more events like this for sure.”

– Cameron Beard, owner of Underbelly

Billy Buchanan @ The Volstead credit: @jazzfestafterdark

Billy Buchanan @ The Volstead
credit: @jazzfestafterdark

“Jazz Fest After Dark was a definite success; hopefully we will have more events like that in the future.”

– Sam Linn, owner/partner of The Volstead

Jazz Fest After Dark is a co-promotion between Jason Lewis (creator/organizer), Jacksonville Jazz Fest, JAX ChamberVisit JacksonvilleDVI and The Elbow was named by Folio Weekly as one of 2013’s top 15 Musical Moments.

Let us know your favorite parts of the Jazz Festival and Jazz Fest After Dark below, and follow @jazzfestafterdark on Instagram and Facebook to look back at this year’s event and to stay tuned for what next year has in store.

by: Katherine Hardwick in Events No Comments  

We hope you were able to make it down to the Jacksonville Jazz Festival this year and, moreover, stay Downtown for the inaugural Jazz Fest After Dark.

The brainchild of local promoter Jason Lewis, Jazz Fest After Dark was a partnership between The Elbow, the City of Jacksonville – Jacksonville Jazz FestivalDowntown Vision, Inc.JAX Chamber and Visit Jacksonville to encourage Jazz fans to stay and experience Downtown’s live music and nightlife scene. If three nights, three venues and free music sound great–it was. But don’t take our word for it – here are some shout-outs from Facebook:


“The After Dark venues were edgy and non-confrontational. I saw families and the out-of-town patrons from the Hyatt that were stretching from their comfort zones and really enjoying themselves.

We hope that the “After Dark” concept continues to be an additional component to all of Jacksonville’s downtown festivities. It really showed off how beautiful the Downtown area can be “After Dark”. I hope the venues choices increase with offering special consideration for family friendly atmosphere, free admission, and encourage exploration of the newly revitalized Downtown Jacksonville area.”
– Ida Louise

“I am a local musician who participated in the recent Jazz Fest After Dark with the groups Tambor and the Joseph Yorio & the Avant World Ensemble. I wanted to thank you for putting together this wonderful addition to the Jacksonville Jazz Festival. It maintained downtown’s vibrancy after the main acts played their last notes and gave many local musicians an opportunity to perform to large festival crowds.”
-Chris Jackson

With events like One Spark and other developments on the horizon earlier this spring, DVI submitted Jacksonville for the International Downtown Association‘s (IDA) “Downtown of the Month” feature. Jacksonville was awarded the spot for May, which was announced in Wednesday of this week.

The mission of the IDA is to connect diverse practitioners who transform cities into healthy and vibrant urban places. The organization’s vision is to see a world full of vital and livable downtowns.

Enjoy the full article below and come be a part of our beautiful River City.

Downtown Jacksonville

About Downtown Jacksonville

Downtown Vision LogoDowntown Jacksonville is the heart and historic cornerstone of Florida’s First Coast. Centrally located in the Northeast Florida region, which is home to 1.5 million people, Downtown is a 30-minute drive to the beaches and 45 minutes to St. Augustine and Amelia Island. Here, diverse, big city offerings fuse with small town charm and southern hospitality. Set along six stunning miles of the St. Johns River waterfront, Downtown Jacksonville also boasts one of the largest stocks of historic buildings in Florida.

The creative class delights in an urban canvas of art events, galleries and museums. Downtown Vision Inc.’s First Wednesday Art Walk is frequently voted Jacksonville’s ”Best Artsy Event” and attracts an average of 8,000 people monthly to celebrate the urban environment, people watch and savor Jacksonville’s creative talent. Downtown has welcomed seven new public art murals in 2013—with two more in the works—and a recently announced Spark District Grant Program will fund additional placement of art and culture, events, festivals, concerts and tours in the walkable core.

Jacksonville EntertainmentDowntown Jacksonville is a destination for doers. Sports fans cheer year round for Jacksonville Jaguars NFL football; Jacksonville Suns Double-A baseball; Jacksonville Giants minor league basketball – the 2011-2012 National Champions of the American Basketball Association; and Jacksonville Sharks arena football – the only team in the history of all professional sports to have won the championship of their division in every season of their existence. Music lovers thrive on the local live music scene and national performing acts alike. This year has welcomed a new collaboration of nightlife venues in Downtown’s entertainment district called, The Elbow. Together these authentic, locally owned and operated bars and clubs host monthly live music events and offer charter transportation to the nearby beaches area.

As a hub for innovators and entrepreneurs, Downtown Jacksonville boasts CoWork Jax, a co-working location for independent workers to collaborate, conspire and build community. Following suit, design, marketing and tech companies are flocking to the Downtown core for an authentic, urban experience to augment their creativity. Last month, 130,000 people assembled in Downtown Jacksonville for the launch of the world’s first crowdfunding festival, One Spark. Over the five-day event, more than $250,000 in crowdfunding was distributed among 500 art, music, science and technology and cause exhibits. Plus, STACHE Investments, a venture of Jacksonville Jaguars owner, Shad Khan, will invest in five-to-seven companies selected at One Spark and work with them to support, build and grow their ventures in Jacksonville, FL.

Jacksonville WaterfrontWalkScore, an organization which helps people find a walkable place to live and enjoy a walkable lifestyle, gives Downtown Jacksonville a score of 78 – the highest for any Jacksonville neighborhood, and lauds the Northbank core of Downtown as a walker’s paradise with a score 91. This walkability is one key to Downtown Jacksonville’s desirability among residents and workers.

Historic architecture and modern amenities join to create more than 2,300 residences, from luxury riverfront condos to stylish lofts to cozy townhomes. With 93% occupancy in Downtown Jacksonville, its good news several hundred more units are on the way.

As the largest regional office submarket with more than 7 million square feet of commercial space, business is done from the boardroom to the ballpark. Employees enjoy unparalleled lunchtime and happy hour options steps from their offices, plus daytime activities and exercise options along nearly three miles of Riverwalk and bridge trails found only in the urban core.

Downtown Jacksonville offers something for everyone – visitors, workers and residents alike. Downtown’s calendar of events is chocked full of more than 100 events in May alone, including the renowned Jacksonville Jazz Festival and a new partnership with The Elbow this year for Jazz Fest After Dark.

Jacksonville FireworksWithin Downtown Jacksonville, sits the 90-block Downtown Improvement District administered by DVI. A dedicated staff and board of directors act as the management arm for Downtown, employing advocacy efforts, stakeholder and community support, and public realm enhancements to ensure Downtown is a desirable place to live, work, play and visit.

DVI works tirelessly towards a fully revitalized and dynamic Downtown with a number of partner organizations including the newly formed Downtown Investment Authority, the Downtown Marketing Collaborative, JAX Chamber, Visit Jacksonville and the Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville. Together these organizations and more are capitalizing on today’s momentum to build a business powerhouse and 24-hour epicenter of first-class culture, innovation and entertainment opportunities.

For more information, visit or contact executive director Terry Lorince at Follow Downtown Jacksonville on FacebookTwitter and Pinterest.

Photos by Rob Futrell.