New sponsor, new location for Jacksonville Jazz Festival

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The 2014 Jacksonville Jazz Festival has a new presenting sponsor and a new location Downtown for the annual showcase of America’s music genre.

Mayor Alvin Brown announced Tuesday that AARP will be the presenting sponsor for the May 22-26 event and the festival is moving from along Laura Street to Bay Street, between the Jacksonville Landing and the Shipyards property.

AARP has more than 125,000 members in Jacksonville. The sponsorship will allow the organization to better connect with the entire community, said Jeff Johnson, the organization’s Florida state director.

“The Jacksonville Jazz Festival brings people together. This is a real opportunity for us to allow our members and the rest of the community to come together. It’s going to be a great time,” he said.

The city has signed a one-year, $100,000 agreement with AARP for the sponsorship. The Jacksonville Aviation Authority will sponsor the main stage for $70,000.

Other sponsors for 2014 are the Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Riverfront and Keyboard Connection Pianos & Organs, sponsor of the May 22 Jacksonville Jazz Piano Competition at the Florida Theatre.

Brown said moving the festival site will bring the event closer to the St. Johns River, the Bay Street entertainment district and the Hyatt, which is the host hotel.

Stages will set up along Bay, Newnan and Marsh streets, adjacent to the Shipyards site and at the Landing.

“It will be family friendly and walkable,” Brown said.

Some of the acts booked for the festival were announced Tuesday: TIZER Feat featuring Karen Briggs, Marcus Johnson, Joey DeFrancesco, Linda Cole and the Joshua Bowlus Quartet, the Jacksonville Jazz Collective, JB Scott Swingin’ All Stars and the Katz Downstairs.

More acts and details will be announced later on the festival website and on social media, said Tonisha Landry-Gaines, director of the city Office of Special Events.

The jazz festival has long been one of Jacksonville’s signature events. “This year promises to be the best ever,” Brown said.

“And best of all, general admission is free,” he added.

VIP packages for the festival are on sale for $175 and $240. For more information and updates, visit

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