Here’s a list of prominent jazz festivals around the country. Only festivals with at least some straight-ahead jazz are listed. This site was last updated October 2012. To get up-to-date information on any festival, just click on the underlined name of the festival. We list some of the recent headliners who have played at each festival, if any. If you think jazz is dead or dying, google “Jazz Festivals”; there are many more than could be listed here.
Fillmore Jazz Festival, San Francisco. Weekend in July. Kim Nalley, Dana Leong. Free street festival.
Healdsburg Jazz Festival, Healdsburg. Week in June. Sheila Jordan, Kenny Burrell, Freddy Cole, Roy Haynes.
Jazz on the River (Russian River Jazz Festival), Guerneville. September weekend. George Benson, David Sanborn, Taj Mahal.
Monterey Jazz Festival, Monterey Fairgrounds. Third weekend in September. One of the big ones. Tony Bennett, Esperanza Spalding, Trombone Shorty, David Sanchez.
Sacramento Jazz Festival & Jubilee, Sacramento. Weekend in May. Dixieland and New Orleans, but usually a few straight-ahead slots.
San Jose Jazz Festival, San Jose. August weekend. Another great time, with top names in downtown San Jose. Dianne Reeves, Jeff Hamilton Trio, Jazz Crusaders.
San Francisco Jazz Festival, SF Jazz Center. June. Jon Scofield, Gregory Porter, David Sanborn, et al.
Sonoma Jazz+, Sonoma. May. Very little jazz.
Stanford Jazz Festival, Stanford University. June-August, over two-three months. One of the country’s major jazz festivals with top players. Roy Haynes, Taylor Eigsti, Dena DeRose, Julian Lage.
Angel City Jazz Festival, Los Angeles. October. Bill Frisell, Vijay Iyer, Ambrose Akinmusire.
Bakersfield Jazz Festival, Bakersfield. Bakersfield. Weekend in May. Pete Escovedo, New York Voices, etc.
Big Bear JazzTrax Summer Festival, Big Bear Lake. Weekend in June.
Idyllwild Jazz in the Pines, Idyllwild. Weekend in August. Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, Lisa Haley.
Jazz at the Bowl, Hollywood Bowl, Los Angeles. July-August. Dianne Reeves, Esperanza Spalding, George Benson, et al.
JazzTrax Catalina Island Jazz Festival, Avalon, Catalina Island. . 3 weekends in October.
Long Beach Jazz Festival, Long Beach. Weekend in August.
Newport Beach Jazz Party, Newport Beach (Marriott Hotel). Feb. 17-20, 2011. Fabulous lineup of all-stars always put together by Rothman/McClure.
Newport Beach Summer Jazz Festival, Newport Beach Hyatt Regency. President's Day Weekend in February. Fabulous lineup of all-stars always put together by Rothman/McClure.
Newport Beach Summer Jazz Festival, Newport Beach (Hyatt Regency). Weekend in May. Dave Koz, Trombone Shorty, et al.
Playboy Jazz Festival, Los Angeles. At the Hollywood Bowl—one of the big ones. Weekend in June. Dianne Reeves, Lee Konitz, Terence Blanchard, many more.
San Diego Jazz Party, San Diego. Weekend in February. Bucky Pizzarelli, Houston Person. At Hilton San Diego/Del Mar.
Sunset Jazz at Newport, Newport Beach, CA. July-Sept. Ken Peplowski, Jeff Hamilton Trio, Byron Stripling, et al.
Sweet and Hot Music Festival, Los Angeles. Weekend in September. LA Airport Marriott. Gina Eckstine,
Jack Sheldon, Herb Jeffries, etc.
OTHER WESTERN STATES
Ballard Jazz Festival, Seattle, WA. April. Gary Bartz, Lew Soloff, etc.
Bellevue Jazz Festival, Bellevue, Washington. June. Regina Carter, Chris Potter, Charles Lloyd, Tierney Sutton.
Chandler Jazz Festival, Chandler, Arizona. Weekend in April. Mix Vax, Papa John De Francesco, etc.
Earshot Jazz Festival, Seattle, Washington. October-November. Bill Frisell, James Carter, Scott Amendola.
Jazz Aspen at Snowmass, Snowmass Village, Colorado. June-July. Monty Alexander, Wynton Marsalis.
Jazz at The Britt, Jacksonville, Oregon. Huge summer arts/culture festival, not far from Ashland and Medford. Some jazz.
Jazz at Newport, Newport, Oregon. September-October. John Clayton, Benny Green, Bruce Foreman, Houston Person, many more.
Jazz Port Townsend, Port Townsend, Washington. Last weekend in July. Dee Daniels, Ingrid Jensen, Benny Green, Wycliffe Gordon, Jeff Clayton, Taylor Eigsti, many more.
Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival, Moscow, Idaho. Weekend in February. Manhattan Transfer, Jimmy Heath, Jeff Hamilton, Bill Charlap, Renee Rosnes, et al.
New Mexico Jazz Festival, Alburquerque & Santa Fe. Two weeks in July. Eddie Palmieri, Terence Blanchard, et al.
Oregon Coast Jazz Party, Newport, OR. October weekend. Bill Charlap, Jackie Ryan, Houston Person.
Paradise Valley Jazz Party, Phoenix, Arizona. Weekend in April. Hamilton Trio, Wycliffe Gordon, Scott Hamilton, Herlin Riley, Bobby Shew, Warren Vache.
Reno Jazz Festival, U. of Nevada, Reno. Weekend in April. Ravi Coltrane, et al.
Portland Jazz Festival, Portland, Oregon. Weekend in February. Joshua Redman, Gerald Clayton, Poncho Sanchez, Regina Carter, Dave Frishberg, et al.
Sitka Jazz Festival, Sitka, Alaska.Weekend in February. Mary Fettig, Kathy Cousins. Alaska’s only jazz festival?
Telluride Jazz Celebration, Telluride, Colorado. Weekend in August. Clayton Brothers, Allen Toussaint, Tower of Power, Paquito d’Rivera.
University of North Colorado Greeley Jazz Festival, Greeley, Co. Weekend in April. NY Voices, Chick Corea, Gary Burton, Benny Green.
Vail Jazz Party, Vail, Colorado. At Vail Marriott Mountain Resort. Labor Day weekend. Niki Harris, Wycliffe Gordon, Hamilton Trio, Benny Green, many more.
THE REST OF THE COUNTRY
Artsplosure Spring Jazz and Art Festival, Raleigh, North Carolina. May 21-22, 2011. Downtown Raleigh.
Atlanta Jazz Festival, Atlanta, Georgia. Weekend in May. Warren Wolf, Regina Carter, Gerald Clayton, Stefon Harris.
Belleayre Music Festival, Highmount, NY (Catskills). August. Dizzy Gillespie Big Band, Bill Charlap, Kenny Barron, et al.
Berklee Beantown Jazz Festival, Boston, Massachusetts. Weekend in September. Joanne Bracken, Terri Lyne Carrington, Tia Fuller, Bela Fleck.
Bix Beiderbecke Memorial Jazz Festival, Davenport, IA. August weekend. Dave Greer’s Classic Jazz Stompers, et al.
Boscov’s Berks Jazz Festival, Reading, Pennsylvania. April. Dave Brubeck, Bucky Pizzarelli, Fourplay, Joey DeFrancesco.
Burlington Discover Jazz Festival, Burlington, VT June. Dave Douglas, John Scofield, Dr Lonnie Smith
Cape May Jazz Festival, Cape May, New Jersey. Weekend in November. Christian McBride, Nicholas Payton, Mark Murphy. At new Convention Hall.
Capital Jazz Fest, Columbia, Maryland. June weekend. Take 6, Herbie Hancock, George Benson, Kirk Whalum,
Fourplay, Spyro Gyra.
Caramoor International Jazz Festival, Katonah, New York. June-August (Jazz weekend in July). Kenny Barron, Gretchen Parlato, Pat Metheny, Bela Fleck.
Chicago Jazz Festival, Chicago, Illinois. Labor Day weekend. In Grant Park. Dee Alexander, Roy Haynes, Ambrose Akinmusire, Allen Toussaint.
Clearwater Jazz Holiday, Clearwater, FL. October weekend. George Benson, Bela Fleck, Herbie Hancock, et al.
DC Jazz Festival, Washington, DC. June. Randy Weston, Monty Alexander, Anat Cohen.
Detroit Jazz Fest, Detroit, Michigan. Labor Day weekend. Sonny Rollins, Terence Blanchard, Chick Corea, Gary Burton, Wynton Marsalis.
Discover Jazz Festival, Burlington, Vermont. June. Dianne Reeves, Lee Konitz, Vijay Iyer, Christian McBride.
Elkhart Jazz Festival, Elkhart, Indiana. Downtown Elkhart. Bucky Pizzarelli, Ariel Pocock, etc.
Elmhurst College Jazz Festival, Elmhurst, February weekend. Matt Wilson, Maria Schneider Orchestra, Byron Stripling.
Freihofer’s Saratoga Jazz Festival, Saratoga Springs, NY. June weekend. David Sanborn, McCoy Tyner, The Cookers, Gary Smulyan, et al.
Glenn Miller Jazz Festival, Clarinda, IA. June weekend. Glenn Miller Orchestra, et al.
Houston International Jazz Festival, Houston, TX. August weekend. Rachelle Ferrell, Hiroshima, et al.
Hudson Valley Jazz Festival, Hudson Valley, NY. August. Arturo O’Farrill, Don Braden, Bobby Sanabria, et al.
Indy Jazz Fest, Indianapolis, IN. September. Stanley Clarke, George Duke, Robert Glasper.
Iowa City Jazz Festival, Iowa City, IA. July weekend. Pharoah Sanders, Dr Lonnie Smith, Fred Hersch, et al.
Jacksonville Jazz Festival. Jacksonville, Florida. May weekend. Sonny Rollins, Bela Fleck, Karen Allyson.
Jazz Carolina, Hartsville, SC, October weekend.
Jazz in the Woods, Kansas City, Missouri. June weekend. Jackiem Joyner, Oleta Adams.
Litchfield Jazz Festival, Kent School, Kent, Connecticut. August weekend. Ambrose Akinmusire, Benny Green, Gary Smulyan, Eric Alexander, Hubert Laws, etc.
M&T Syracuse Jazz Fest, Syracuse, NY July. Brubeck Bros., Yellowjackets, Preservation Hall.
Maryland Summer Jazz, Rockville, MD & Washington, DC. July—two weeks. Amy Shook, Leonardo Lucini, et al.
Mary Lou Williams Jazz Festival, Washington, DC. May. Sheila Jordan, Helen Sung, Regina Carter, et al.
New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, New Orleans, Louisiana.April-May. Many types of music at this venerable, rollicking festival, but some jazz.
Newport Jazz Festival, Newport, Rhode Island. August weekend. Dr. John, Jack DeJohnette, Dianne Reeves, Miguel Zenon, many more.
92Y Jazz in July Festival, New York. July. Jeff Ballard, Anat Cohen, Dena DeRose, Brian Lynch.
North Carolina Jazz Festival, Wilmington, North Carolina. February. Bucky Pizzarelli, Nicki Parrott, Harry Allen, Chuck Redd.
Pittsburgh JazzLive International Jazz Festival, Pittsburgh, PA. June. Gregory Porter, Marcus Miller, et al.
Provincetown Jazz Festival, Provincetown, Massachusetts.August weekend. Sharon Clark, Paul Carr, etc.
Ravinia Festival, Highland Park, IL. June-September. Anat Cohen, Ramsey Lewis, Dee Dee Bridgewater, et al.
Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival, Rochester, New York. Week in June. Kenny Washington, Mark Murphy, Norah Jones, Diana Krall, Esperanza Spalding.
Sarasota Jazz Festival, Sarasota, Florida.March. Tierney Sutton, John Pizzarelli, Stan Kenton Alumni Band.
Satchmo Summerfest, New Orleans, LA. August weekend. Preservation Hall, et al.
Savannah Jazz Festival, Savannah, Georgia. Week in September. All events free.
Scranton Jazz Festival, Scranton, PA. August. Chuck Mangione, Spyro Gyra, Tierney Sutton, Terell Stafford, et al.
Summer Solstice Jazz Festival, East Lansing, MI. June weekend. Cyrille Aimee, Arlene McDaniel, etc.
Twin Cities Jazz Festival, St. Paul, Minnesota. June weekend. Bad Plus, Delfeayo Marsalis, etc.
AND ON THE WATER
The Jazz Cruise. End of January. Holland-American cruise ship leaves from Ft. Lauderdale, visits Caribbean ports. This is a full week of 70-80 jazz headliners on board, from the Clayton Brothers and Jeff Hamilton Trio, to Kurt Elling, Randy Brecker, Anat Cohen, Wycliffe Gordon, Nikki Harris, Shelly Berg, Bruce Forman, Byron Stripling, Joey DeFrancesco, Freddy Cole, and many more.