Jazz exists in many forms. It can be relaxing, upbeat, slow, fast, erratic, and many other variations. The best jazz music can transport a listener to a different time and place, wringing every ounce of emotion out of them before bringing them back to the present.
Finding these experiences involves making other, more physical journeys. The best place to find the latest and greatest jazz is at one of the many jazz festivals held annually around the world. If you are inclined to travel and love jazz at its finest, check out our list of the top jazz music festivals around the world.
Accessing those concerts will require you to travel, and that is why getting your CROSSROCK CASE ready is an important part of the planning!
1. The Copenhagen Jazz Festival
The Copenhagen Jazz Festival is held near the start of summer — typically beginning in late June or early July — each year in Denmark. In 2022, it ran longer than usual, starting on June 24 and continuing until July 10. In 2023, it’ll be slightly briefer, beginning on June 30 and running through July 9.
This event has been held since 1979, making it one of the most distinguished jazz festivals in Europe and one of the most famous jazz festivals around the world. It has something for every jazz lover, hosting over 1,300 concerts featuring a slew of styles. Plus, there are kid- and family-friendly activities, allowing visitors to enjoy far more than great music.
If you’re looking for outstanding accommodations, here are some options in Copenhagen that are worth considering:
2. The Clearwater Jazz Holiday
The Clearwater Jazz Holiday has also been held since 1979 in Clearwater, Florida. This is a world-class, multi-day celebration of jazz that’s held every October (October 14–16 in 2022), often hosting over thirty-five thousand visitors.
This event is held at Coachman Park and features a combination of great artists performing in a wide variety of jazz styles that are sure to inspire and delight jazz fans from all over the world. Because of the beautiful Florida beaches, the warm Florida sun, and amazing jazz, this is one of the top jazz festivals to attend.
When it comes to accommodations, Clearwater has plenty to offer. Here are some options you may want to explore:
3. The Java Jazz Festival
The Java Jazz Festival has been held for more than ten years in Jakarta, Indonesia. While the event previously took place in March, it was scheduled from May 27 to May 29, 2022.
This event is considered the biggest jazz festival in the Southern Hemisphere. The Java Jazz Festival features popular Indonesian jazz artists and international greats from all across the globe. The lineups often have some of the biggest names in jazz, and the country itself is breathtakingly beautiful, which is why this is one of the most popular international jazz festivals.
Finding great accommodations for this jazz festival is also a breeze. Here are some stellar options:
4. The Montreal International Jazz Festival
The Montreal International Jazz Festival isn’t just one of the top jazz festivals in the world; it’s officially the largest jazz festival in the world, too. The event holds the Guinness World Record for hosting more than 1.9 million jazz fans during its 25th-anniversary celebration, cementing its place in history.
The event is held annually, starting in June and running into July in Quebec, Canada. For 2023, the dates will be June 19-July 8.
For many people, this is easily one of the best jazz festivals for anyone who wants to experience more of what the genre has to offer. This festival has stood the test of time, as it’s been going since the early 1980s. Typically, this long-lasting festival features upwards of three thousand artists from thirty-plus countries. You are sure to find your favorite jazz artists at The Montreal International Jazz Festival.
If you want to make sure your accommodations are conveniently located for the festival, here are some options:
5. The Montreux Jazz Festival
The Montreux Jazz Festival takes place in Switzerland, usually starting in late June or early July. In 2023, the event will begin on June 30, running through July 15.
This event is one of the biggest jazz festivals, coming in second only to Canada’s Montreal International Jazz Festival. The Montreux Jaz Festival attracts between two hundred and three hundred thousand people every year, all of whom come to enjoy fantastic music and a sense of camaraderie.
This grand event was founded in 1967, causing many to view it as one of the more traditional jazz festivals. However, that isn’t a comment on the music or amenities, as you’ll find modern conveniences and nearly every jazz style represented here.
For great accommodations for your stay in Switzerland, consider these options:
6. The XJazz Berlin Festival
The XJazz Berlin Festival is a newer event, first occurring in May 2014. However, it quickly became a favorite among jazz fans and is often considered one of the best jazz festivals in the world for anyone who enjoys boundary-pushing, innovative jazz music.
This event brings together an eclectic array of jazz artists and attendees every May, giving this festival a unique edge. If you’d like to experience it firsthand, plan to be in Berlin between May 10 and 14, 2023, and make sure to scoop up your tickets in advance.
If you’re looking for a great place to stay in Berlin, here are some options for accommodations:
7. The Eltham Jazz, Food & Wine Festival
When it comes to jazz festivals in Australia, the Eltham Jazz, Food & Wine Festival is considered by many to be one of the top jazz festivals in the world. It features incredible music, delectable food, and magnificent wine, making the total experience absolutely stellar.
Usually, this event — which is scheduled for February 25–26, 2023 — features mainly local jazz artists, making it an excellent option for anyone who wants to explore the Australian jazz scene. Plus, the Eltham Jazz, Food & Wine Festival is a free, child-friendly event, so this jazz festival could take your Australian vacation to the next level.
If you’re coming in from another city or country and want some local accommodations, here are some excellent options:
8. Manly Jazz Festival
With stages set up alongside Manly Beach in Australia, the Manly Jazz Festival is another fantastic event for jazz fans. Along with traditional jazz artists, you’ll find a lot of jazz fusion at this event, making it a fun way to explore new styles. In 2022, this event will take place on September 24–25.
You also have plenty of options for outstanding accommodations. Here are some to consider:
9. Cancun Jazz Fest
From November 6–8, 2022 (with a post-night concert on November 9), you can enjoy the Cancun Jazz Festival. You can enjoy a wide array of jazz artists in a breathtakingly beautiful setting. Whether you prefer smooth jazz or jazz with a bit of soul, there’s something for you.
Finding a great place to stay in Cancun isn’t too challenging. If you want to get started with your search, here are some accommodations you might want to explore:
BONUS: 4 USA Jazz Festivals
After exploring some of the best jazz festivals around the world, you might want to see some of the best of what the USA offers. Overall, there are several top jazz festivals in the USA, with amazing events happening all across the country.
If you’re looking for some of the best jazz festivals in the US, here are four that easily qualify:
John Coltrane International Jazz and Blues Fest — High Point, NC — September 3–4, 2022
Monterey Jazz Festival — Monterey, CA — September 23–25, 2022
New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival — New Orleans, LA — April 28-May 7, 2023
PDX Jazz Festival — Portland, OR — February 17–26, 2022
Now it’s your turn. What is your favorite jazz festival and why.
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