For 30 years, Jazz Artist, aficionados and local jazz fans come from near and far to take a seat in the front row of The Jacksonville Jazz Festival. Exciting new additions to this year’s festival program included the Jazz Marketplace where artists and vendors showcased their original wares in a unique shopping experience and Jazz Eats and Drinks, a consolidated strip full of the city’s best al fresco dining options, along with ever popular signature events such as the Piano Competition, Jazz Jam, Omni Sacred Jazz Brunch and more! The 2016 lineup included Jon Batistes, McCoy Tyner, Snarly Puppy, Dr. John, The Yellow Jackets, Lizz Wright, Dizzy Gillespie’s Afro Cuban Experience band, Ken Ford, The Noel Friedline Quintet and more! This year the festival recreated three stages throughout downtown for a walkable musical, cultural and artful experience. Infusing jazz music throughout the downtown concourse, stages were located at Monroe and Main Street, Hemming Plaza and The Landing.
Headlining this year’s festival was the talented, R&B Motown hit maker KEM. KEM expressed himself on stage with his soulful hits and shouted, “I love you Jacksonville.” The crowd went wild as KEM strutted across the stage holding jazz fans captives with songs of love and spirituality. Prepare yourself for next year as Jacksonville continues this jazzy tradition to introduce new and seasoned jazz fans to the history and culture and distinctive styles of an era gone by.