The Jacksonville Jazz Festival is a popular musical event held annually in Jacksonville, Florida that has grown into a major event with attendance in excess of 10,000. The Festival has featured a variety of local, national, and international performers over the years including jazz legends Dizzy Gillespie (1981), Miles Davis (1986), Tony Bennett (2003), Natalie Cole (2011), Patti Austin (2012), and Sonny Rollins (2012).
The first Festival, Mayport and all that Jazz, was held in 1980, named after the fishing village of Mayport near Jacksonville Beach. It was a one-day celebration featuring music and seafood, and sponsored by the City of Jacksonville. After its second year, the venue was moved to Metropolitan Park in downtown Jacksonville and was co-sponsored by the local public broadcasting affiliate WJCT. In 1983, the Great American Jazz Piano Competition was added as the Festival's opening event. After the 1984 concert the Festival was solely produced by WJCT and became known officially as the Jacksonville Jazz Festival. After a hiatus in 2001 and 2002 the City of Jacksonville once again sponsored the Festival in 2003 and has continued since. Over the years the event has included a piano competition, 5 km run, educational activities, talks, jazz jams, and multi-location concerts at various downtown venues. To learn more about the collection, please see the Finding Aid.