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Gearing Up For The 37th Annual Atlanta Jazz Festival

More Variety, New Venues, More Music

Atlanta, GA — “This year’s Atlanta Jazz Festival is going to be one of our best,” says Camille Russell Love, Director of the City of Atlanta Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs. “We will present a diverse lineup of artists from around the world, and because we are blessed with a wealth of talent here in Atlanta, we’ve added a third stage in Piedmont Park just for local artists. There will be no grilling at the festival this year so we have adjusted our dates in Piedmont Park to run from Friday through Sunday of Memorial Day Weekend, May 23-25. The park will reopen for normal public use on Monday, May 26 for Memorial Day.”

“To celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the Office of Cultural Affairs and the rich legacy of former Atlanta Mayor Maynard Jackson, we have planned something special this year,” Love continues. “Mayor Jackson founded the Office of Cultural Affairs and the Atlanta Jazz Festival.  In his honor we are presenting Jazz in Oakland Cemetery on Sunday, May 4 and the festivities will be hosted by Mayor Kasim Reed.”

Here’s an overview and some highlights of the 37th Annual Atlanta Jazz Festival

Bank of America Youth Jazz Band Competition 

The Bank of America Youth Jazz Band Competition will take place on Saturday, March 22 from 9 am to 5 pm and is being hosted by the Georgia State University School of Music in their Kopleff Recital Hall. The three winning High School Jazz Bands will perform as the opening act each day at the festival in Piedmont Park. This year the Atlanta Jazz Festival has partnered with Jazz at Lincoln Center and they are providing music charts from their Essentially Ellington program to all competing bands. The competition is open to the public, but seating is limited. Tickets are free but must be reserved in advance. Here’s the link for tickets: 

April Jazz Appreciation Month 

For the first time, the Atlanta Jazz Festival will be actively involved in Jazz Appreciation Month and will present a special Jazz concert series at The Sound Table from April 24-26, as well as Jazz with the Soul Food Cypher at Wonder Root on April 27. 

31 Days of Jazz 

There will be Jazz events on every day in May. Here is just a sampling of what you can experience.

MARTA Mondays are back!  Last year’s partnership with MARTA (Metro Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority) was a huge hit, with delighted patrons enjoying Jazz in stations during their commutes. Here’s this year’s schedule. Decatur Train Station: April 28; Doraville Train Station: May 5; College Park Train Station: May 12 and Midtown Train Station: May 19. Music will be presented from 3:30-5:30pm and MARTA will host contests and giveaways.

Every Tuesday in May Twain’s will present Joe Gransden’s Jazz Jam.

May 14, May 21, and May 28 there will be a Jazz Narratives Series at Elliott Street Pub.

Friday, May 2 singer Theresa Hightower will perform in concert at the Intercontinental Buckhead.

Saturday, May 3 the much anticipated Jazz Under The Stars Concert returns to Clark Atlanta University.

Tuesday, May 6 the Rialto Theatre will host Rialto Jazz for Kids JazzFest.

Friday, May 9 jazz will be featured at Martinis & IMAX at Fernbank Museum of Natural History.

May 16 the Friday Jazz series will celebrate the Atlanta Jazz Festival at the High Museum of Art.

AJF Neighborhood Jazz Series

The Atlanta Jazz Festival helps serve as a cultural bridge uniting Atlanta’s communities. The Neighborhood Jazz Series was created six years ago and it has become one of the festival’s signature events.  This year the series will be presented in historic Atlanta area parks thanks to the support of Atlanta City Councilmembers.  All the events are free and open to the public. Plan to come out for an afternoon of great music, warm camaraderie and family fun at these locations: 

Saturday, May 3 at Adams Park presented by Councilmember Keisha Lance Bottoms 

Saturday, May 10 at Perkerson Park presented by Councilmember Joyce Sheperd

Sunday, May 11 at Historic Fourth Ward Park presented By Councilmember Kwanza Hall

Saturday, May 17 at Washington Park presented By Councilmember Ivory Young, Jr.

Sunday, May 18 at McClatchey Park presented By Councilmember Alex Wan

Saturday, May 31 at Grove Park presented By Councilmember Felicia Moore

AJF37 @ Piedmont Park

The festival will return to beautiful Piedmont Park with three days of music over Memorial Day Weekend from Friday, May 23 through Sunday, May 25. 

ADMISSION. The event is FREE and open to the public. 

DATES & HOURS. Festival hours in Piedmont Park are Friday, May 23 from 4 -11 pm; Saturday, May 24 from 11 am-11 pm and Sunday, May 25 from 11 am-11 pm. 

THREE STAGES.  This year there will be three stages in Piedmont Park: the Main Stage, the International Stage and the Local Stage.

TWO KIDZONES. There will be two KidZone areas this year. The Publix Activity KidZone will offer games and interactive play for all ages, and the Art KidZone will feature jazz education concerts geared toward younger listeners, a Puppet Factory hosted by the Center for Puppetry Arts, face painters and much more! 

SHOPPING & FOOD VENDORS. A wide variety of food vendors will tempt your taste buds with BBQ, gyros, burgers, Caribbean foods and more!  Browse among the booths for unique items including art, clothing and jewelry. 

PARK RULES. There will be NO GRILLING, NO PETS and NO STAKING OF TENTS allowed in Piedmont Park during the festival.

LOCAL TRANSPORTATION. The easiest way to come to the festival is to take MARTA:

International Stage Artist Sneak Preview

Columbian composer and harpist Edmar Castaneda has revolutionized the way audiences and critics alike consider the harp. His music is a blend of euphoric Latin American rhythms punctuated with the improvisational freedom of Jazz.  He has released three popular CDs, collaborating with artists such as John Scofield, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Miguel Zenon and Marshall Gilke. 

New York Times says of Castaneda, “A master of beautifully complex timing, lush colors and dynamic spirit.” And the Wall St Journal wrote, “Mr. Castaneda strummed, plucked, rubbed, jabbed and pounded on his cobalt blue Llanera harp as he conjured different shaped notes, harmonic textures and steady bass rhythms from the instrument’s 34 strings. About the only thing he didn’t do was light it on fire.”  

You can hear Edmar Castaneda at the festival in Piedmont Park on Saturday, May 24.

Ali Amr is an internationally renowned singer and Qanun performer from Morocco. He has performed to enthusiastic audiences throughout Europe, the United States, Canada, Asia and the Middle East in venues ranging from New York’s Carnegie Hall to Spain’s Auditorio Nacional. He has played at numerous festivals including the Newport Jazz Festival, North Sea Jazz Festival, and the Istanbul Jazz Festival.  When he performed at Spain’s Festival de Peralada, Quincy Jones called him an “unrivaled unique artist.” Amr will perform at the Atlanta Jazz Festival in Piedmont Park on Sunday, May 25.


Sponsors for this year’s festival include Bank of America, Publix Charities and W Midtown. If you are interested in being a sponsor and promoting your product or service at the festival, contact Alex Davis at ADDavis@AtlantaGa.Gov.

The 37th Annual Atlanta Jazz Festival is presented by the City of Atlanta Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs. The mission of the Atlanta Jazz Festival is to educate and entertain a diverse audience of jazz fans and to nurture the next generation of jazz musicians. The festival is partially supported by Atlanta Jazz Festival Inc, a 501(c)(3) cultural, non-profit.  Like us on Facebook at AtlantaJazzFestival and visit the official web site at for performance schedules, news and information.

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