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11 Not-to-Be Missed Jazz and Culture Festivals

Hit the Chi or the Big Easy. Choose Cali fun or island sun. Plus dancing, shopping, celebs, dining, casinos, parties and more!

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Sisters Newsletter Staff
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Music festivals like Burning Man and Coachella are all the rage for millennials, but where’s the festival fun for the rest of us? Jazz festivals attract a sophisticated and diverse crowd and are the place to be for grown folks. And because many include genres beyond jazz, such as funk and soul, you’re guaranteed to find your groove. So grab some friends and get to one of these 11 popular festivals near you this year.

New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, New Orleans, April 23-May 3
Now in its 51st year, the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival draws a crowd of more than 400,000 music fans with multiple stages and eight days of bands. Last year’s festival highlights included Diana Ross, Katy Perry, the Dave Matthews Band and Trombone Shorty. (

28th Annual Saint Lucia Jazz Festival, St. Lucia, May 7-9
Presented in collaboration with New York’s Jazz at Lincoln Center, the Saint Lucia Jazz Festival showcases about a dozen performances from world-renowned musicians at intimate venues all over the Caribbean paradise of St. Lucia. The three-day festival, held over Mother’s Day weekend, makes the perfect gift for Mom. (

Montreal International Jazz Festival, Montreal, June 25-July 4
Have you always wanted to visit the cosmopolitan city of Montreal? Here is a great reason to go. The Montreal Jazz Fest, the world’s largest jazz fest according to Guinness World Records, is the biggest party of the Montreal summer. This summer, the festival will celebrate its 41st year with 10 days and nights of music and more than 100 indoor shows. (

42nd Annual Playboy Jazz Festival, Hollywood, California, June 6-7
Once again, the Playboy Jazz Festival, sponsored by Playboy Enterprises and presented by the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association, will take over the Hollywood Bowl. This year’s talent includes Terri Lyne Carrington and Social Science, Musiq Soulchild,Femi Kuti and the Positive Force, Azar Lawrence, the Isley Brothersand many more. (

28th Annual Capital Jazz Festival, Columbia, Maryland, June 5-7
Each year Capital Jazz Fest attracts tens of thousands of music fans to hear soul and jazz music. This outdoor festival is presented on multiple stages and features a marketplace with food, drinks, shops, arts and crafts, and talent meet and greets. Last year’s highlights included Gladys Knight, Regina Belle, Brian McKnight, Marsha Ambrosius, Chrisette Michele, George Clinton and Parliament/Funkadelic, and more. (

43rd Annual Freihofer’s Saratoga Jazz Festival, Saratoga Springs, New York, June 27-28
Always the last weekend in June, the outdoor festival featured anextraordinary roster of artists last year. The festival attracts jazz luminariesfrom Chris Botti and Herbie Hancock, to gospel legend Mavis Staples and top-tier talent like TEN, comprising Terri Lyne Carrington, Esperanza Spalding and Nicholas Payton. (

66th Annual Newport Jazz Festival, Newport, Rhode Island, Aug. 7-9
The Newport Jazz Festival is the granddaddy of jazz fests, having drawn the biggest names in jazz for 65 years. Miles Davisgraced the stage in 1955 performing “’Round Midnight,” and Duke Ellington and his orchestra closed the show in1956. The festival runs three full days on multiple stages on the grounds of Fort Adams State Park in Newport and also features food, crafts and exhibits. (

Montclair Jazz Festival, Montclair, New Jersey, Aug. 8
Created 11 years ago by Melissa Walker, wife of jazz bassist Christian McBride, the Montclair Jazz Festival is an outdoor festival that gets bigger every year. Last year’s festival included a week of activities including a kickoff dance party and jazz performances at seven venues around the city. Bring your lawn chairs, and plan to eat, shop and listen to great live music. (

42nd Annual Chicago Jazz Festival, Chicago, Aug. 29-Sept. 6
The Chicago Jazz Festival is a favorite end-of-summer tradition. A nine-day free celebration based downtown in Millennium Park and the Chicago Cultural Center, the festival integrates both world-famous and Chicago talent.(

63rd Monterey Jazz Festival, Monterey, California, Sept. 25-27
Voted the best jazz festival in 2016 by the readers of Jazz Times, the Monterey Jazz Festival is nonstop music for three nights, on eight stages, with over 500 artists. Taking place on 20 acres of magnificent grounds, the festival also features films, conversations with jazz artists, exhibitions, food, beverages and a shopping bazaar. (

Atlantic City Jazz, Atlantic City, New Jersey, September (Date TBA)
The Estess Arena at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Atlantic City will host the jazz fest for the second year with another powerhouse roster of jazz talent to be announced. Last year’s festival featured Boney James, Najee, Pieces of Dream and others. (