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 April 2017. 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. 10 days in June. Joe Lovano, Django All-Stars, Pacific Mambo Orch., Heath Brothers.
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. John Clayton, Jeff Hamilton, Regina Carter, Gerald Clayton.
Sacramento Music Festival, 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.Chris Botti, George Clinton, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Randy Brecker.
San Francisco Jazz Festival, SF Jazz Center. 2 weeks in June. Stanley Clarke, Jack DeJohnette, Chris Potter, Fred Hersh.
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. September -October.
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. Charles McPherson, Graham Dechter.
Jazz at the Bowl, Hollywood Bowl, Los Angeles. June-August. Gregory Porter, Herbie Hancock, Diana Krall, Chris Botti.
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. 15-28, 2018. Fabulous lineup of all-stars always put together by Rothman/McClure.
Newport Beach Summer Jazz Festival, Newport Beach Hyatt Regency. Weekend in June. David Sanborn, The O’Jays.
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. John Scofield, Gregory Porter, Kenny Garrett, Arturo Sandoval.
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. Weekend in May. Lee Konitz, Joe Locke, Claudio Roditi.
Bellevue Jazz Festival, Bellevue, Washington. June. Catherine Russell, The Rumba Kings.
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. Labor day weekend.
Jazz at The Britt, Jacksonville, Oregon. Huge summer arts/culture festival, not far from Ashland and Medford. Some jazz.
Jazz Port Townsend, Port Townsend, Washington. Last weekend in July.
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. July-Aug. Pharaoh Sanders, Ravi Coltrane, Pat Martino.
Oregon Coast Jazz Party, Newport, OR. 1st weekend in October. George Cables, John Clayton, Jeff Hamilton, Houston Person.
Reno Jazz Festival, U. of Nevada, Reno. Weekend in April. The Bad Plus, Joshua Redman.
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. Mavis Staples, Macy Gray, Davina & The Vagabonds. Click here for visitor information.
University of North Colorado Greeley Jazz Festival, Greeley, Co. Weekend in April. Jimmy Heath, Dave Leibman, Sheila Jordan.
Vail Jazz Party, Vail, Colorado. At Vail Marriott Mountain Resort. Labor Day weekend. Terrell Stafford, Tommy Igoe, James Morrison, Byron Stripling, 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. Charles Lloyd, Freddy Cole, Marquis Hill, Regina Carter.
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. 10 days in June. Diana Krall, Terence Blanchard.
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. 10 days in June. Gregory Porter, Robert Glasper, Roy Haynes, Hiromi.
Detroit Jazz Fest, Detroit, Michigan. Labor Day weekend. Stanley Clarke, Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter.
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.
Exit Zero Jazz Festival, Cape May, NJ. Weekend in late April.
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, U. of Iowa Pentacrest. July weekend. The Cookers, Donny McCaslin, Stacy Kent.
Jacksonville Jazz Festival. Jacksonville, Florida. May weekend. Chick Corea, Gregory Porter, Jane Monheit, Joey Alexander.
Jazz Carolina, Hartsville, SC, October weekend.
Jazz in the Woods, Kansas City, Missouri. June weekend. Jackiem Joyner, Oleta Adams.
Litchfield Jazz Festival, August weekend. Goshen Fairgrounds, Goshen, CT. Ada Rovatti, John Pizzarelli, Rudresh Mahanthappa, Ken Peplowski.
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.
Montclair Jazz Festival, Nishuane Park, Montclair, NJ. One Sat. in August. Christian McBride, DeeDee Bridgewater.
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. Snarky Puppy, Maria Schneider, Cyrille Aimee, Vijay Iyer, 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 weekend. David Sanborn, Jack DeJohnette, Odean Pope, The Bad Plus,
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. Monty Alexander, Miguel Zenon, Tierney Sutton, Billy Childs
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. Cecile McLorin Salvant, Esperanza Spalding, Bria Skonberg.
Syracuse JazzFest, Syracuse, NY. OCC campus. Weekend in June. Ramsey Lewis, Todd Rundgren.
Tri-C-JazzFest, Playhouse Square, Cleveland, OH. Weekend in June. Diane Reeves, Terence Blanchard.
Twin Cities Jazz Festival, St. Paul, Minnesota. June weekend. Bad Plus, Delfeayo Marsalis, etc.
AND ON THE WATER
The Jazz Cruise. February 3-10, 2018. Celebrity Summit cruise ship leaves from Ft. Lauderdale, visits New Orleans (will dock for 25 hours) and Cozumel. This is a full week of jazz headliners on board: Houston Person, Clayton Brothers, Monty Alexander, Byron Stripling, Randy Brecker, Arturo Sandoval, Lewis Nash, Herlin Riley, Preservation hall Jazz Band, Jeff Hamilton Trio, Benny Green Trio, Marcus Miller, Joey DeFrancesco, Wycliffe Gordon, James Morrison, Sean Jones, Anat Cohen, Kurt Elling, Nnena Freelon, Robert Gamborini, Niki Haris, John pizzarelli, Ann Hampton-Calloway, New York Voices, and many more.