Exploring the World's Most Famous Jazz Festivals

Jazz music has been around for decades, and its popularity has only grown over the years. Jazz festivals are a great way to experience the genre in all its glory, and there are some truly amazing events around the world. From the Cape Town International Jazz Festival to the Eltham Jazz, Food and Wine Festival, here is a guide to some of the most famous jazz festivals around the world. The Cape Town International Jazz Festival is one of the most important annual jazz events in Africa. Held in March, this festival brings together some of the biggest names in jazz music from around the world.

It also features workshops, films, conferences and exhibitions. The Eltham Jazz, Food and Wine Festival is held in February in Melbourne's suburb of Eltham. This festival focuses on local foods and features plenty of jazz shows at unaffiliated New Orleans nightclubs. It also offers plenty of activities for festival goers to enjoy. Vinterjazz is held every year in Copenhagen since 1979. This 17-day event takes place in mid-winter and features more than 300 concerts at over 75 venues. Special program series includes Jazz for Kids, Future Sound of Jazz and Jazz'n Poetry. The Reno Jazz Festival is almost 60 years old and is focused on education.

It welcomes students, educators and professional musicians to the University of Nevada for exhibits, impromptu sessions, contests and prizes. The Monterrey Jazz Festival has been donating its profits to music education since its creation. It takes place in mid-April and early May and features an eclectic selection of musical genres from jazz to zydeco. The Greater Hartford Festival of Jazz is known as New England's largest free jazz event. Held in mid-July in Hartford, Connecticut, it attracts more than 50,000 jazz enthusiasts every year. The San José Jazz Festival was first held in 1990 for two days in August in the Plaza de Cesar Chavez. Today it runs over two weekends and features some of the biggest names in jazz music. The Berlin Jazzfest has been running for more than 50 years and continues to bring together jazz musicians from Berlin and around the world.

It is one of Europe's oldest and most prestigious festivals. The PDX Jazz Festival takes over downtown Portland for eleven days a year to honor those who have made jazz what it is today. It offers a more traditional lineup of the biggest names in the genre. The Jacksonville Jazz Festival has a street party atmosphere with some of the world's most talented musicians performing on its main stage. It also offers plenty of activities for festival goers to enjoy. The Monterey Jazz Festival takes place in September and features more than 100 performances, workshops, films, conferences and exhibitions. It also appoints a resident artist each year. Finally, the Litchfield Jazz Camp culminates with a festival at The Gunnery in Washington, Connecticut.

This event offers live music from jazz's biggest names combined with Fort Adams' seaside scenic beauty.


Jazz festivals offer attendees the chance to hear familiar sounds in a distant environment while also encouraging them to try new foods, see new sights and meet new people. From Copenhagen to Portland, there are some truly amazing jazz festivals around the world that should be on any jazz fan's bucket list.

Morris Ferranti
Morris Ferranti

Lifelong tv scholar. Certified web fan. Web evangelist. Friendly zombie nerd. Extreme twitter aficionado.

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