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Atlanta Jazz Festival, weekend celebration showcasing jazz greats

Nalynn Dolan Caine |
ATL Jazz Fest is back! Don’t miss the fun and excitement at the annual Atlanta Jazz Festival in Piedmont Park, one of the country’s largest free jazz festivals.

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The 45th Annual Atlanta Jazz Festival is set to take place in Piedmont Park over Memorial Day weekend May 28-30, and will include three days of show-stopping performances from world-renowned musicians and innovative emerging jazz artists.

Established in 1978, the Atlanta Jazz Festival has become a tradition that draws music lovers from all around the region to experience the latest and greatest in jazz music culture.

Since then, Atlanta Jazz Festival has hosted luminaries of the jazz music tradition including, Lionel Hampton (1980), Dizzy Gillespie (1988/1990), Wynton Marsalis (1989), Nina Simone (2000), Ray Charles (2002), Miles Davis (1983), Herbie Hancock (2000) and many, many more.

This year's artist line-up includes Herbie Hancock, a man that pioneered a groundbreaking sound in jazz, The Baylor Project, an astonishing duo, Julie Dexter, considered by many to be one of the most influential female vocalists of our generation, Rhonda Thomas, a featured soloist and background vocalist for Isaac Hayes for 11 years before his untimely passing, and many more.

The festival showcases local and national jazz greats, a neighborhood jazz series, youth jazz band competition, a kids zone and many other family-friendly activities.

There will be lots of food vendors near all of the stages throughout the park to satisfy your hunger for the food, too. Between musical performances, go to the Artist Market, where you will find artwork by Atlanta's most gifted artists.

Have in mind that the City of Atlanta passed an ordinance banning smoking in public parks. This includes, “inhaling, exhaling, burning, or carrying any lighted tobacco product including cigarettes, cigars, and pipe tobacco." It is as it is. Don't let that stop you from experiencing the 2022 Atlanta Jazz Festival in style.

The all-new Jazz Spot offering the best viewing location in Piedmont Park for the festival! Enjoy the comfort of having a tent or picnic spot reserved just for you and your guests, ready for you upon arrival - no matter what time you get to the festival.

The Jazz Spot includes exclusive amenities such as access to a climate-controlled VIP restroom trailer, a dedicated cash bar, and premium Atlanta Jazz Festival merchandise and goodies. Access to the Jazz Spot area is extremely limited and is expected to sell out.

The Jazz Spot area opens at 11:00 am each day. Music starts at 1pm.

In addition to five show-stopping performances each day on the Meadow Stage, the Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs presents Jazz 101.

Jazz 101 is an opportunity for residents and visitors to experience, up close and personal, conversations with the performing artists. Eddie Palmieri with Ojeda Penn, Kenny Barron with Davis Sanchez, Makaya McCraven with Lil John Roberts and Tia Fuller are scheduled for Sunday, May 29th and Monday, May 30th at Park Tavern.

Additionally, young patrons will have the opportunity to learn about African percussion from Russell Gunn and engage with KUUMBA storytellers in the Kid’s Zone. Storytellers will read two books from the Mayor’s Summer Reading Program.

The festival begins Saturday, May 28, 2022, with Atlanta native and Mayor Dickens’ school classmate, Kebbi Williams and the Wolfpack. The festival is free. Enjoy!

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