I recently attended the Jazz Education Network Conference in San Diego where Encore Tours featured a listing of top jazz festivals from around the world. Due to its popularity at the conference, I wanted to share this information with our readers, so here is a list of 9 amazing jazz festivals across the globe. Hope you enjoy!
January – Berklee High School Jazz Festival
Boston, MA, USA
The Berklee High School Jazz Festival is the largest festival of its kind in the United States and is held annually every January in Boston, Massachusetts! Jazz ensembles and combos compete during the day, are adjudicated by Berklee’s top faculty and will receive a written critique of their performance. Ask us about additional performance opportunities in Boston for jazz ensembles!
February – Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival
Moscow, Idaho, USA
Under the artistic direction of John Clayton, this festival dates back to 1967 and has since expanded to be one of the largest jazz festivals in the Western part of the United States. Thousands of middle school, high school and collegiate ensembles travel to small town Moscow, Idaho every year to participate in the adjudicated sessions, daily workshops and evening performances featuring professional artists!
March – Cape Town International Jazz Festival
Cape Town, South Africa
This amazing musical event takes place annually at the Cape Town International Convention Centre and is the largest musical event in sub-Saharan Africa! Utilizing 5 venues, over 40 artists perform during the 2-night event with nearly 40,000 visitors in attendance. The program usually includes an even split between South African and other international artists, giving it a unique local flair.
April – Jazzkaar
Experience the beauty of the Baltics during this annual 10-day jazz festival in Estonia’s capital, Tallinn! With over a couple dozen venues, there’s plenty of performances to attend and with artists like Bobby McFerrin, Chick Corea and Jan Garbarek, who can resist?
May – Brussels Jazz Marathon
Belgium’s history of jazz really begins with Mr. Adolphe Sax, thanks to his wonderful musical invention – the saxophone! With Brussels’s live music scene, it’s no wonder that this beautiful city also hosts a “Jazz Marathon” each year. The festival’s unique program always boasts a sampling of modern jazz, traditional jazz, blues, word-funk and other exciting jazz genres!
June-July – Montreal International Jazz Festival
Holding the Guinness World Record for being the largest jazz festival, this event has hosted the world’s most renowned jazz artists: Ray Charles, B.B. King, Diana Krall, Ella Fitzgerald, Sara Vaughn, Tony Bennett, James Brown, Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis and so many more! Check out their upcoming line-up on the website.
July – Montreux Jazz Festival
If you just take the M-train, you’ll find your way into the Montreux Jazz Festival! On Lake Geneva, this festival is the second largest annual jazz festival in the world. Here, you’ll be able to witness the world’s greatest jazz artists performing in unique venues. Perhaps you can even perform yourself! From concert halls, to boats, to trains, there is literally jazz on every corner.
October – Cork Jazz Festival
Sponsored by Guinness, this jazz festival is the largest and most popular of its kind in Ireland. Featuring professional artists at a slathering of venues, from pubs to the town centers, you’ll be sure to find the perfect performances to attend! Additional performance opportunities may be available. Ask us for more information!
November – Buenos Aires Jazz Festival
Buenos Aires, Argentina
After its creation in 2002, the Buenos Aires Jazz Festival remains the oldest continuously-running jazz festival in Argentina. The festival has hosted thousands of visitors every year and in 2012, ten years after its initiation, over 70,000 people were in attendance! Notable performing artists from past festivals include Ron Carter, Herbie Hancock, Cassandra Wilson and Freddie Hubbard.
There are hundreds of jazz festivals throughout the world. Don’t see the one you want on the list? Just ask us for more information!
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