by: admin in Events No Comments  

By Kristina Aviles, DVI Intern

jjf

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 www.downtownjacksonville.org or contact executive director Terry Lorince at terry@downtownjacksonville.org. Follow Downtown Jacksonville on FacebookTwitter and Pinterest.

Photos by Rob Futrell.