The Best Jazz Festivals in North America
“Ya, like jazz?” Between the melodic tunes, sweet saxophone serenades, repetitive upbeat percussions, and the blend of multiple instruments singing to one another, there’s a lot to love about jazz music. Thankfully, there are plenty of ways to enjoy it and experience more than just its sound. Here are the best jazz festivals in North America worth visiting to immerse yourself in all the culture, community, and beauty jazz generates.
1. Annual Vail Jazz Party
Vail, Colorado, houses plenty of attractions to enjoy, from skiing hot spots to cozy mountain-town vibes. It’s also home to an action-packed jazz party. With so much to explore, it’s hard to know when to go to Vail to get the most out of all its opportunities. However, if you appreciate good music and jazzy tunes, then there’s no better time to head into this attraction-filled mountain town than during peak festival season. Vail’s annual jazz party runs from August 30 to September 4. It features a diverse lineup filled with multi-artist jam sessions, house bands, special guests, and various jazz-style performances from bossa nova and bebop to smooth and cool jazz.
2. Festival International de Jazz de Montreal (FIJM)
The Festival International de Jazz de Montreal (FIJM), also commonly known as the Montreal Jazz Festival, is one of the biggest jazz events in North America. It exposes you to international jazz, new artists, and more. On top of providing an array of jazz concerts—featuring worldwide artists—FIJM is also a non-profit organization. They are dedicated to making jazz and related musical forms more accessible and popular for the general public.
3. Chicago Jazz Festival
Chicago’s local jazz festival is another popular hit for jazz fanatics. It occurs during Labor Day weekend and takes place citywide, from Millennium Park and the Chicago Cultural Center to rooftop theatres. It offers free admission to concert performances, features international performers, and promotes all forms of jazz. The Chicago Jazz Festival submerges you into the jazz scene and the heart of Chicago’s city life.
4. New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival
New Orleans, Louisiana, overflows with culture, so it’s no surprise that it’s a must-go jazz hot spot. The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival celebrates all there is to love about jazz, from the music to the community and history. Along with bopping and smooth tunes, this popular festival includes lots of food, crafts, and more to explore. It occurs from April 28 to May 7 on the famous Fair Grounds Race Course.
Whether you find yourself in the mountains, Canada, the Windy City, or the bayou, there are many opportunities to enjoy jazz and all it encompasses. These four jazz festivals in North America are some of the most popular jazzy celebrations to attend. Don’t miss out on the best of the jazz scene and enjoy a festival dedicated to the craft of this influential music.
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