by erin thursby
Some of the notable performers include Natalie Cole, Joey Calderazzo, Warren Hill, Marion Meadows, John Pizzarelli and the Gentlemen of the Night featuring Paul Taylor.
Events kick off at The Florida Theatre with the Jacksonville Jazz Piano Competition (ticketed). Most of the fest is free, but there are some ticketed events and you can VIP Packages for preferred seating. Go to www.makeascenedowntown.com for more info on what the festival has to offer. Besides the many performers on the many stages, other events are part of the celebration: Art in the Heart Downtown Art Show & Sale, Wine Down/Brew Town Tasting Experience (ticketed), Generation Next Youth Talent Competition, the Jacksonville Jazz Piano Competition, ‘Round Midnight Jazz Jam (2 nights!), Sunday Jazz Brunches and more!
What to bring and what not to bring
Umbrellas are discouraged, but ponchos will be for sale if needed, or you can bring your own. Large bags will be subject to search. You can bring portable chairs -in-a bag. If you are in the VIP area chairs will be provided. Do not bring: coolers, pets, skateboards, bikes, rollerblades, glass containers, signs, noisemakers, sticks, poles, balls, Frisbees, weapons, video cameras, your own food or drink and still cameras with lenses over six inches. If you’re going out during the day, do bring sunscreen and a hat!
VIP Packages and Preferred Seating Passes
“Experience Jazz” 2011 VIP Package Valid all festival days, May 26-29 $250 per person (plus $5 service charge) Children ages 3 and under are free. Includes access to an upfront viewing environment with preferred seating during all festival days at most venues (limited; first-come, first-served). Tickets to Jacksonville Jazz Piano Competition, the Sunday Jazz Brunch, Wine Down/Brew Town Tasting Experience Ticket (includes a commemorative wine glass or beer glass and 6 tastes of featured wines or craft beers). VIPs will get perks such as special reserved parking, two drink tickets per day and discounts at participating Downtown businesses. VIP swag includes a commemorative event program, lapel pin, Jacksonville Jazz Festival poster signed by the artist and a keepsake wine bag.
Preferred Seating gives you access to the preferred seating areas, closer to the stage. Cost is $60 before May 20 or $70 after May 20 for preferred seating on Friday and $70 before May 20 or $80 after May 20 per day for Saturday and Sunday. For more information on VIP or Preferred call 630-3690 or go to www.makeascenedowntown.com.
Festival Parking & Transportation
The Fest will be Downtown along Laura Street, Main Street, the Landing and Hemming Plaza. There will be signs for various parking options around the venues. Check www.makeascenedowntown.com for updates on parking. Besides parking in various surrounding garages on the Northbank, you can park on the Southbank and hop on a a water taxi or take the Skyway.
The Hemming Plaza Station of the Skyway will put fest-goers at the Groovin’ Stage in the Plaza. From there it’s a short walk to other stages and venues. Or you can opt to get off at the Central Station, just a block away from the Breezin’ Stage inside The Jacksonville Landing. Skyway Hours: Friday 6 am-11 pm, Saturday 11 am-Midnight, Sunday 11 am- 9 pm. Cost is 50 cents each way. Change machines available at stations. Go to www.jtafla.com for Skyway schedules and stations.
Water taxis are slated to service both sides of the river during the Jacksonville Jazz Festival. The best place to get dropped off on the Northbank is The Landing. Water Taxi Hours: Thursday 11 am- 9 pm, Friday 11 am- 11 pm, Saturday 11 am- 11 pm, Sunday 11 am- 9 pm. Hours are subject to change due to weather conditions. Northbank Stops: The Landing, Metropolitan Park. Southbank Stops: Friendship Fountain, Crowne Plaza Riverfront, Wyndham Riverwalk. One-way Fares: Metropolitan Park one way: $4 adults/ $3 seniors and children (3-12) All other downtown locations one way: $3 adults/ $2 seniors and children (3-12). For more, see www.jaxwatertaxi.com.