Jacksonville Jazz Festival 2021: Everything you need to know

The music festival’s 40th anniversary begins Sept. 29 and continues Oct. 1–Oct. 3 with two stages of live, free entertainment that’s fun for the whole family.

Jacksonville Jazz Festival

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The Jacksonville Jazz Festival kicks off with a piano competition Wednesday, Sept. 29, at the historic Florida Theatre. The competition is presented by Keyboard Connection – The Piano Place and has been for over 30 years.

The Jazz Piano Competition is included with the purchase of a VIP Full Experience Package, but single general admission tickets can also be purchased for $20. To purchase a ticket to the competition, visit the Florida Theatre box office or call (904) 355-ARTS (2787) x0.

To learn more about the piano competition and the 2021 finalists, click here.

The fun continues on Friday, Oct. 1, and through the weekend to Oct. 3, with two stages of live, free entertainment.

The two stages will be along the St. Johns River, ‘The Swingin’ Stage’ will be at Riverfront Plaza (formerly The Landing) and the ‘Groovin’ Stage will be at Ford on Bay. The stages will be connected through activations along Independent Drive and includes The Jazz Marketplace. A map of the festival is below.

The Jazz Marketplace provides a unique shopping experience with regional and local vendors throughout the festival.

There will be multiple live performers Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, including Lalah Hathaway, Sheila E., Poncho Sanchez, Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds, and many more. For the full list of the 2021 performers, click here.

One of the most popular events of the weekend is the Jazz Jam. It will be held at the VyStar Breezeway on Saturday, Oct. 2, from 9 p.m. to midnight. To learn more about Jazz Jam, click here.

Also included in this jam-packed jazz weekend is Sunday’s Sacred Jazz Brunch, from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Jacksonville River City Downtown Hotel (formerly the Omni).

The all-you-can-eat buffet has guaranteed reservation times and assigned tables. To learn more about the brunch or purchase tickets, click here.

Certain events like the Piano Competition, Jazz Jam, and Sacred Jazz Brunch require tickets, but the festival itself is free.

There are also VIP Festival Experience Packages available for purchase. The packages include a variety of perks including preferred seating, dedicated VIP bars, VIP lounge, climate-controlled restrooms, and more.

For more details on the premium experiences packages, click here.


What are the dates and hours of the festival?

  • September 29: Piano Competition, 7 p.m.–10 p.m.
  • October 1: 4 p.m.–11 p.m.
  • October 2: 2 p.m.–11 p.m.
  • October 3: 2 p.m.–10 p.m.

Where is the festival?

  • Florida Theatre (Wed. Sept. 29, Piano Competition)
    • 128 E Forsyth St #300, Jacksonville, FL 32202
  • Riverfront Plaza (Formerly The Landing) (Fri–Sun)
    • 2 W. Independent Drive Jacksonville, FL 32202
  • Ford on Bay (Fri–Sun)
    • 288 E Bay St, Jacksonville, FL 32202

For more information on the 2021 Jacksonville Jazz Festival, click here.

Bailey Husker

Bailey Husker, Action News Jax

Bailey Husker is a digital content producer and assignment editor for Action News Jax.