It has been a while since jazz music has been able to resonate with an audience in the flesh. Now, we can finally look forward to experiencing some world class musicianship from critically acclaimed artists.
Last updated: 10th May 2021
It has been a while since jazz music has been able to resonate with an audience in the flesh. Now, we can finally look forward to experiencing some world-class musicianship from critically acclaimed artists in the fresh outdoors or within a beautiful venue.
Here is our list of the best jazz festivals that are alive and kicking in 2021, with lineups that boast Mercury Prize nominees, legends of old and the new wave of jazz musicians for the future.
Not only are these festivals dedicated to music but they have a strong sense of community built around them.
This year sees Maiden Voyage moving to a never used before location in London, Lee Valley Showground. Over the August bank holiday, if you want to experience a lineup that celebrates jazz, house, techno and more then Maiden voyage is the place for you.
Funk, soul and jazz composer Roy Ayers will surely be a joy to witness and Mercury Prize nominee Moses Boyd will also be taking to the stage, finally able to share songs from his critically-acclaimed debut album 'Dark Matter'.
After a hugely successful 2019 edition, Brixton's Cross The Tracks festival will be hoping to carry that over to this year's event. For 2021 they have revealed a lineup that shows off the latest talent from jazz as well as a selection of local and legendary artists. Lianne La Havas will be headlining after her wonderful self-titled album was released last year.
Cross The Tracks is a festival that not only celebrates the music on a show but is a day packed with food, workshops and conversation. Within this, you can expect London's finest craft beer brewers, a wellness area and creative markets that include a record and art fair. It's a celebration of jazz, soul, funk and what the surrounding culture has to offer.
It's not often you can experience gorgeous jazz music whilst strolling the grounds of an Elizabethan hall. You could hardly ask for a better location, with a huge sprawling lawn, rolling fields and woodland. The word idyllic comes to mind.
This is a family-friendly event with an easy-going attitude, there's a children's area and 15 acres of garden to explore. Careful not to get lost though as you wouldn't want to miss the jazz and blues talent on offer taking over the main stage. The lineup is yet to be revealed but rest assured there will be plenty of ambience to soak in.
New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival has a proud history. Starting all the way back in 1970, the huge event in Louisiana's biggest city lasts for over a week. With over 12 stages of music, the alumni list for this festival is quite incredible with Stevie Wonder, B.B. King and Fleetwood Mac just a few names.
Whilst more genres than ever are on show at the festival, there can be no denying that it's is a dream come true for any fan of jazz music. It's a chance to get deeply engrained within the whole culture and celebration surrounding jazz music and makes the most of a thriving local music scene.
Find tickets for New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival here
This year Manchester Jazz Festival is heading somewhere new. Escape To Freight Island is located in Manchester Piccadilly and is comprised of three stages, The Ticket Hall, The Round and The Pavilion. One of the best things about the festival is that it is entirely free, meaning that you'll be able to see artists such as Camilla George and Nubiyan Twist for nothing!
The festival is going to be an intimate one, with open-air bars and a street market available within the venue. To grab yourself a place all you need to do is book a table at one of the venues and you can swap tables between venues so you can catch all of your favourites throughout the weekend.
This huge event by the Yorkshire coast of Scarborough is a celebration of jazz music, with three days of afternoon and evening sessions offering you a whole range of shows. returning for 2021 are the likes of Tony Kofi, Alan Barnes Octet and Dave Newton and there's a whole host of new faces appearing too such as violinist John Pearce, pianist Fergus McCreadie, and the gipsy jazz of Djanco.
What more could you want than seeing world-class musicianship beside the seaside? The setting of Scarborough Spa is also something to behold with the elegant Victorian architecture being a wonderful location as the sea laps the shore nearby.
2021 lineup: Preservation Hall Jazz Band, The Budos Band, Poncho Sanchez, Catherine Russell
When: Friday 13th- Sunday 15th August
Where: Telluride, Colorado
Telluride Jazz Festival can certainly lay claim to having one of the most unique festival locations on Earth. Perched high above in the Rocky Mountains in South-west Colorado, the natural aesthetic alone is truly wonderful. Running since 1977, this historic festival is three days centred entirely around jazz.
The festival itself is small in size and makes for an intimate experience as you enjoy the works of acclaimed artists, Grammy winners and some excellent upcoming student bands. This is a chance to get uniquely close to some of your favourites.