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California Jazz Festivals

Best Annual Festivals for Jazz Music


You'll find jazz festivals all over California, year round, in all kinds of places from hotels to the local park. These are some of the biggest, best and most popular - the ones that you might want to plan ahead for.

Sacramento Music Festival - May

Formerly known as Sacjazz, the festival now incorporates a broad range of musical styles, from western swing to zydeco and mariachi, while still emphasizing all kinds of jazz. In 2012, the festival featured more than 60 bands at 23 venues, including more than 20 nationally-known names.

San Francisco Jazz Festival - June

More than a month of jazz performances spanning all kinds of jazz styles.

Hollywood Bowl Summer Jazz Series

We can't think of a better place to enjoy a jazz concert than the Hollywood Bowl. The Philharmonic's Jazz at the Bowl Series includes blues, big bands, Latin jazz and other styles. The two-day Playboy Jazz Festival and Smooth Summer Jazz (formerly JVC Jazz) also bring jazz greats and exciting newcomers to the Hollywood Bowl's summer lineup.

San Jose Jazz Festival - August

San Jose's jazz festival is a twenty-five-year tradition, one of the state's biggest and most affordable. In fact, it's so big that it's a bit daunting. Our guide will help you make sense of how to enjoy it the most.

Monterey Jazz Festival - September

Founded in 1958, the Monterey Jazz Festival is the world's longest-running jazz festival and it hasn't lost its appeal, selling out almost every year.

JazzTrax, Catalina Island - October

It lasts three weekends and features more than 30 artists and the location couldn't be nicer.

Dixieland Jazz Festival, San Diego - November

Held over Thanksgiving weekend (fourth weekend in November), this festival focuses on Dixieland-style jazz music.

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