Guide to the 2016 Jax Jazz Fest

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.

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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!