In recognition of its 40th anniversary the Atlanta Jazz Festival expanded to 40 days of Jazz-related events across the city at neighborhood parks, MARTA stations, jazz clubs and museums. During the entire month of May, more than 100 of the best Jazz performers showcased their talents in a neighborhood jazz series, youth Jazz band competition, a kids zone and many other family-friendly activities.
In 1977, organizers of the first “Atlanta Free Jazz Festival” wanted to host a celebration where the music would be a liberated art form at no cost to the community. Only the best Jazz would do. They pulled together the 29-act festival on a shoestring budget with sponsors such as Coca Cola and Peaches Record Store. By 1984, when ‘free’ was dropped from the name, the Atlanta Jazz Festival had major national sponsorship and a reputation for pulling in some of the top Jazz artists in the world, and the commitment to keep the Jazz free flowing and the festival free of charge remained.
Over the years the Atlanta Jazz Festival has been backdrop to musical legends such as Miles Davis, Dizzie Gillespie and Nina Simone.
Now, more than 40 years later, hundreds of acts take the stage each year during a month long celebration of Atlanta jazz before coming to a close each Memorial Day weekend at the historic Piedmont Park.
This year, the festival will present three stages of performances featuring: Freddy Cole, Macy Gray, Regina Carter, Dwight Andrews, Charles Lloyd Sky Trio, Darren English, Joe Jennings and Howard Nicolson’s Life Force, Julie Dexter, Kathleen Bertrand and Friends and many more.