The Best Jazz Music Festivals of 2018

This article is a collaborative effort, crafted and edited by a team of dedicated professionals.

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


Looking for a great jazz music festival to attend this year? Check out our list of the best festivals happening in 2018!


Jazz music is a genre of music that originated in the African-American communities in the United States in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It was developed from a mix of African and European musical traditions. Jazz is characterized by swing and blue notes, call and response vocals, polyrhythms and improvisation.

The best jazz music festivals of 2018 are:
-Monterey Jazz Festival
-New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival
-Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz International Competition
-Pittsburgh International Jazz Festival
-Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Competition & Festival

Newport Jazz Festival

The Newport Jazz Festival is one of the most prestigious jazz festivals in the world, and it takes place in Newport, Rhode Island. The festival was founded in 1954 by George Wein, and it has been held annually ever since. The festival features a wide range of jazz musicians, from established legends to up-and-coming talents. past performers include Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Ella Fitzgerald, Duke Ellington, and Billie Holiday. This year’s lineup includes Kamasi Washington, Christian McBride, Norah Jones, and many more.

Monterey Jazz Festival

Consistently rated as one of the top jazz festivals in the world, the Monterey Jazz Festival is a can’t-miss event for fans of the genre. Taking place over three days in early September, the festival features more than 500 artists performing on eight different stages. While jazz is the focus, you’ll also find blues, funk, R&B, and Latin music at the fest. Past performers include Ella Fitzgerald, Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock, and Esperanza Spalding. Tickets start at $45 for a single day.

Detroit Jazz Festival

The Detroit Jazz Festival is an annual jazz festival held in downtown Detroit, Michigan. The four-day event, which is sponsored by Quicken Loans, features over 100 performances on nine stages by headline jazz musicians from around the world. The festival attracts over 500,000 visitors each year and is one of the largest free jazz festivals in the United States.

Chicago Jazz Festival

The Chicago Jazz Festival is one of the largest free jazz festivals in the world, and it takes place over Labor Day weekend in Millennium Park. The festival attracts more than 500,000 people from all over the world and features more than 100 artists on 10 different stages. Past headliners have included world-renowned jazz musicians such as Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, and Ella Fitzgerald.

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