You’re Invited

Savannah’s World-Class Jazz Festival

Words by Turner Maclean

As the name might suggest, the focus of the Jazz Festival is very much on Jazz, featuring a diverse selection of top contemporary artists in the fields of Traditional Jazz, Smooth Jazz, Straight-ahead, Blues, Latin and even Funk and R&B. The world-class festival is largely free and takes place each Fall. Not to be confused with the Savannah MUSIC Festival, which is a ticketed event taking place each Spring.

Now in its 43rd year, the Savannah Jazz Festival is the signature event of the Savannah Jazz Organization, also known simply as “Savannah Jazz.” A grassroots non-profit organization, the mission of Savannah Jazz is to help Jazz music thrive in the Savannah area by sponsoring special live performances, supporting Jazz education, and by offering a monthly concert series throughout the year. It is also responsible for the Savannah Jazz Hall of Fame and the Savannah Jazz Orchestra.

The events of the Savannah Jazz Festival take place in various Downtown Savannah locations like Ships of the Sea Maritime Museum and the Lucas Theater, always kicking off with the ‘Latin Dance Party’ followed by ‘Blues Night.’ The week culminates with special performances under the stars at Forsyth Park. School Band Day happens on Sunday, featuring the area’s top school Jazz bands. Admission to the Friday and Saturday concerts in the park and the School Band Day are completely free. The line up for the 2024 festival will be announced at the end of April.

“The outdoor concerts in the park promise a family-friendly atmosphere with people from all walks of life coming together peacefully to dance, celebrate and enjoy some truly world-class musical performances,” says Savannah Jazz President of the Board, and longtime Richmond Hill resident, Colin Schofield. “The festival wouldn’t be possible without all the hard work of our amazing volunteers and the generous support of our sponsors, vendors, members, media partners and most importantly, the City of Savannah.”

Savannah Jazz also takes credit for the creation of the Savannah Jazz History & Hall of Fame Museum. Located inside the Savannah History Museum, the exhibit tells the rich story of Savannah’s often overlooked role in the development of this uniquely American art form, a role which is as old and important as that of New Orleans. Utilizing a combination of artifacts, displays, and interactive multimedia, the exhibit brings to life Savannah’s storied Jazz history from its inception to the present day.

The 2024 Savannah Jazz Festival will take place September 18th–22nd. “Why not take advantage of one of the world’s great Jazz festivals taking place right here on our doorstep?” says Schofield. “Save the date and celebrate the arts with us. Concerts in Forsyth are free for all!”

Annual memberships to the organization enable special access to the festival but aren’t required. For this year’s lineup and more details about the festival and other events, visit