Are you a fan of jazz music? Then you’re in luck because there are so many incredible jazz music festivals to attend around the world. Michael Nunoo is a network engineer from Watervliet, New York, who has a passion for jazz music. In fact, he is a gospel jazz musician himself, playing the trumpet for a band called Let’s Worship. He outlines the top seven jazz festivals in the world.
The Montreal International Jazz Festival
Each year, the Montreal International Jazz Festival is held between late June and early July in Quebec, Canada. This event is one of the largest jazz festivals in the entire world and features thousands of jazz artists every year, shares Michael Nunoo. It’s no wonder this festival has broken records for attendance, recording over two million guests in 2004 alone. It has been going strong since the 1980s and it’s basically an institution at this point. Not into jazz? The Montreal Jazz Festival has all genres of music on display during these two weeks of the summer. There are also plenty of free outdoor concerts and activities for people of all ages to enjoy.
The Copenhagen Jazz Festival
If you’re in Europe, then Denmark’s Copenhagen Jazz Festival is a must. This summer festival takes place in early to mid-July and is hands down one of the most popular jazz festivals on the continent, shares Michael Nunoo. In fact, it’s so popular that the country actually established a winter version of the event called Vinterjazz. Vinterjazz kicks off in February and sees hundreds of jazz concerts being played all over the country from February onwards.
The Cape Town International Jazz Festival
Head to South Africa this March for the Cape Town International Jazz Festival. The event is the largest jazz gathering in all of Africa and is easily one of the top five jazz festivals in the world. Each year, this festival sees crowds from far and wide, not to mention a stellar lineup of some of the most famous jazz artists in the world, mixed in with promising up and comers.
The Montreux Jazz Festival
The Montreux Jazz Festival, which takes place annually in the picturesque town of Montreux, Switzerland, is frequently cited as one of the top jazz festivals in the world. It takes place every July and has experienced guest counts of up to 300,000 people (that’s 12 times the population of the entire town of Montreux). According to Michael Nunoo, the swanky event has been taking place since 1967. If the appeal of seeing some of the best jazz artists in the world perform live isn’t enough, then be sure to visit for the beauty of the location, a stunning resort town on the banks of Lake Geneva.
The Clearwater Jazz Holiday
You might be surprised to hear that Florida has a thriving jazz scene, evidenced by The Clearwater Jazz Holiday, a world-renowned, four-day event held every October. This outdoor event is held at Coachman Park in Clearwater (near Tampa Bay) and features a wide array of jazz styles and artists. The Clearwater Jazz Holiday attracts nearly 35,000 visitors each year and is definitely a must-attend. Michael Nunoo says the music combined with the pristine beaches and warm Florida sun make for an incredible experience.
The Tobago Jazz Experience
Make a trip out of it and attend The Tobago Jazz Experience, a cultural event like no other in Trinidad and Tobago. The event is held in April every year and is intended to celebrate the country’s indigenous jazz roots. Past headliners have included Wyclef Jean, Grace Jones, Lauryn Hill, and David Rudder. This is one of the most fun jazz festivals in the world and ideal for jazz fans looking to attend some concerts while enjoying a relaxing vacation on a gorgeous Caribbean island.
Michael Nunoo on the XJAZZ Berlin Festival
If you’re looking for a more modern and contemporary jazz festival, look no further than the XJAZZ Berlin Festival. This German jazz festival was established in 2014 and offers a fresh take on the genre. This festival is largely made up of local jazz artists who put an innovative spin on classical jazz by combining genres. For example, Michael Nunoo says you will find jazz artists who blend electronic music with traditional jazz styles. The result is a jazz festival for the younger generation, one that has birthed an entirely new type of music. Ultimately, Nunoo claims that if you’re into the evolution of jazz or music on the whole, then you’ll love the XJAZZ Berlin Festival.