10 Top Jazz Festivals Around the World

top 10 jazz festivals around the world

Jazz exists in many forms. It can be relaxing, upbeat, slow, fast, erratic, and many other variations. The best jazz music can transport a listener to a different time and place, wringing every ounce of emotion out of them before bringing them back to the present.

Finding these experiences involves making other, more physical journeys. The best place to find the latest and greatest jazz is at one of the many jazz festivals held annually around the world. If you are inclined to travel and love jazz at its finest, check out our list of the top jazz music festivals around the world.

music festival

10 Top Jazz Festivals Around the World

1. The Copenhagen Jazz Festival

The Copenhagen Jazz Festival is held near the start of summer – typically beginning in late June or early July – each year in Denmark. In 2022, it ran longer than usual, starting on June 24 and continuing until July 10. In 2024, it’ll be slightly briefer, beginning on July 5th and running through July 14.

This event has been held since 1979, making it one of the most distinguished jazz festivals in Europe and one of the most famous jazz festivals around the world. It has something for every jazz lover, hosting over 1,300 concerts featuring a slew of styles. Plus, there are kid- and family-friendly activities, allowing visitors to enjoy far more than great music.

If you’re looking for outstanding accommodations, here are some options in Copenhagen that are worth considering:

Copenhagen Jazz Festival. Foto: Kristoffer Juel Poulsen
Copenhagen Jazz Festival. Foto: Kristoffer Juel Poulsen (Courtesy Jazz.dk)

2. The Clearwater Jazz Holiday

The Clearwater Jazz Holiday has also been held since 1979 in Clearwater, Florida. The Clearwater Jazz Holiday is a world-class, multi-day celebration of jazz that’s held every October (October 17 – 20, 2024), often hosting over thirty-five thousand visitors.

This event is held at Coachman Park and features a combination of great artists performing in a wide variety of jazz styles that are sure to inspire and delight jazz fans from all over the world. Because of the beautiful Florida beaches, the warm Florida sun, and amazing jazz, this is one of the top jazz festivals to attend. This year, they will be celebrating their 45 Anniversary.

When it comes to accommodations, Clearwater has plenty to offer. Here are some options you may want to explore:

Clearwater Beach, Florida

3. The Java Jazz Festival

The Java Jazz Festival has been held for more than ten years in Jakarta, Indonesia. While the event previously took place in March, it is scheduled this year from May 24 – 26, 2024.

This event is considered the biggest jazz festival in the Southern Hemisphere. The Java Jazz Festival features popular Indonesian jazz artists and international greats from all across the globe. The lineups often have some of the biggest names in the jazz world, and the country itself is breathtakingly beautiful, which is why this is one of the most popular international jazz festivals.

Finding great accommodations for this jazz festival is also a breeze. Here are some stellar options:

person playing saxophone at a jazz festival

4. The Montreal International Jazz Festival

The Montreal International Jazz Festival isn’t just one of the top jazz musicians and festivals in the world; it’s officially ranked the world’s largest jazz festival. The event holds the Guinness World Record for hosting more than 1.9 million jazz fans during its 25th-anniversary celebration, cementing its place in history.

The event is held annually, starting in June and running into July in Quebec, Canada. For 2024, the dates will be June 27 – July 6.

For many people, this is easily one of the best jazz festivals for anyone who wants to experience more of what the genre has to offer. This festival has stood the test of time, as it’s been going since the early 1980s. Typically, this long-lasting festival attracts upwards of three thousand artists, both national and international artists, from over thirty-plus countries. You are sure to find your favorite jazz artists at The Montreal International Jazz Festival.

If you want to make sure your accommodations are conveniently located for the festival, here are some options:

crowds at the Montreal Jazz Festival

5. The Montreux Jazz Festival

The Montreux Jazz Festival takes place in Switzerland, usually starting in late June or early July. In 2024, the event will begin on July 5th and runs through to July 20.

This event is one of the biggest jazz festivals, coming in second only to Canada’s Montreal International Jazz Festival. The Montreux Jaz Festival attracts between two hundred and three hundred thousand people every year, all of whom come to enjoy fantastic music and a sense of camaraderie.

This grand event was founded in 1967, which has led many to view it as one of the more traditional jazz festivals. However, that isn’t a comment on the music or amenities, as you’ll find modern conveniences and nearly every jazz style represented here.

For great accommodations for your stay in Switzerland, consider these options:

Montreux jazz festival takes place in Montreux Switzerland

6. The XJazz Festival in Berlin

The XJazz Berlin Festival is a newer event, first occurring in May 2014. However, it quickly became a favorite among jazz fans and is often considered one of the best jazz festivals in the world for anyone who enjoys boundary-pushing, innovative jazz music.

This event brings together an eclectic array of jazz artists and attendees every May, giving this festival a unique edge. If you’d like to experience it firsthand, plan to be in Berlin between May 6 and 12th, 2024, and make sure to scoop up your tickets in advance. This year, Berlin’s XJazz Festival is celebrating its 10th Anniversary!

If you’re looking for a great place to stay in Berlin, here are some options for accommodations:

XJAZZ Berlin festival
XJAZZ Berlin (Photo: XJAZZ / Ulla C. Binder)

7. The Eltham Jazz, Food & Wine Festival

When it comes to jazz festivals in Australia, the Eltham Jazz, Food & Wine Festival is considered by many to be one of the top jazz festivals in the world. It features incredible live music throughout, delectable food, and magnificent wine, making the total experience absolutely stellar.

Usually, this event – which is scheduled for February 23rd – 24th, 2024 – features mainly local jazz artists, making it an excellent option for anyone who wants to explore the Australian jazz scene. Plus, the Eltham Jazz, Food & Wine Festival is a free, child-friendly event, so this jazz festival could take your Australian vacation to the next level. This year, the Eltham Jazz, Food and Wine Festival is celebrating its 25th Anniversary. 

If you’re coming in from another city or country and want some local accommodations, here are some excellent options:

food and wine festival

8. Manly Jazz Festival

With stages set up alongside Manly Beach in Australia, the Manly Jazz Festival is another fantastic event for jazz fans. Along with traditional jazz artists, you’ll find a lot of jazz fusion at this event, making it a fun way to explore new styles. In 2024, this event will take place on September 20-22nd.

You also have plenty of options for outstanding accommodations. Here are some to consider:

Manly NSW, Australia

9. Cancun Jazz Fest

From November 8-10, 2024, you can enjoy the Cancun Jazz Festival. You can enjoy a wide array of jazz artists in a breathtakingly beautiful setting. Whether you prefer smooth jazz or jazz with a bit of soul, there’s something for you.

Finding a great place to stay in Cancun isn’t too challenging. If you want to get started with your search, here are some accommodations you might want to explore:

sign that says cancun

10. North Sea Jazz Festival

The North Sea Jazz Festival Rotterdam in The Netherlands is taking place from July 12-14, 2024. The Rotterdam North Sea Jazz Festival features a mix of jazz legends and local Dutch jazz artists and is typically attended by around 75,000 jazz enthusiasts every year. It offers substantial diversity regarding the types of jazz played, making it an excellent option for music fans of any jazz subgenre.

Getting to the North Sea Jazz Festival from Amsterdam isn’t overly challenging either, as Rotterdam is less than one hour away. Plus, you have plenty of outstanding options for accommodations, including the North Sea Jazz Festival hotels below:

north sea jazz festival
Vysotsky (Wikimedia), CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons,

BONUS: 4 USA Jazz Festivals

After exploring some of the best jazz festivals around the world, you might want to see some of the best of what the USA offers. Overall, there are several top jazz festivals in the USA, with amazing events happening all across the country.

If you’re looking for some of the best jazz festivals in the US, here are four that easily qualify:

Now it’s your turn. What is your favorite jazz festival, and why

Comments

  1. Artistic Director

    Manly Jazz
    Sydney Australia

    Longest running community jazz festival in Australia held at beautiful,seaside resort of Manly, NSW.
    Free to attend and offers a range of jazz styles including international artists as well as substantial youth component in school bands performing on 5 stages across the site.
    Held on October labour Day Weekend every year since 1978 – 42nd year this year (2019)
    Thousands of tourists and locals flock to the event every year so soak up the sun, surf, sand and sounds.
    One of the most successful jazz festivals in the world.

  2. Mario Laroche

    YES MONTREAL !!!!!
    HAVE been to the Montreal International Jazz Festival since 1994 and year after year the programmation is just unbelievable :Metheny, Marsalis ,Haden, Barber….Exct….Lovely City,Lovely people’s, Lovely Music.

  3. Jean Dalmath

    The Rochester International Jazz Fest, one of the largest jazz festivals in the world, is celebrating its 20th Edition from June 23 – July 1, 2023 in Rochester, NY. Rochester is located in upstate New York in the Finger Lakes region and on Lake Ontario. RIJF navigates all genres of creative improvised music bringing together unique musical sounds from many countries, highlighting international artists’ take on the only truly American art form – jazz. The 9-day Europeans style festival presents more than 1750 artists from around the world at 20 diverse indoor and outdoor concert venues, all within walking distance. The Club Pass Series of 192 shows at 11 venues is accessible with one ticket, the Club Pass, a value pass to discovery to hear legends and rising stars. Come and go from concerts as you like. Three and nine-day passes are available. In addition to a ticketed reserved seating headliner series, music fans can enjoy more than 100 free shows. Held in the heart of downtown Rochester with four venues located at the renowned Eastman School of Music. See the history of the amazing lineups here: https://www.rochesterjazz.com/history. The 2023 lineup will be announced in March. The multi-dimensional festival was founded in 2002, attendance has grown from 15,000 in 2002 to 210,000 in 2022.

  4. Lisa

    How can you have this list without mentioning the North Sea Jazz Festival in Rotterdam??????

  5. CONSTANTIN ZAHARIA

    Try Gărâna Jazz Festival.
    Three decades ago started the most eclectic mix of nordic sounds (ECM, ACT…), with Oriental & MittelEuropa fragrances.
    In a Woodstock like scene, surrounded by mountains and forrests, Eberhard Weber, Mike Stern, Jan Garbarek, Charles Lloyd, Jean-Luc Ponty, Stanley Jordan, John Abercrombie, Miroslav Vitous, Zakir Hussain, Magnus Ostrom, Bugge Wesseltoft, Lars Danielsson, Avishai Cohen, Nils Petter Molvaer, Hiromi, Nik Bartsch, Dhafer Youssef, Trygve Seim , Frank Gambale, Eivind Aarset, Håkon Kornstad, Mathias Eick , Per Mathisen, Marcin Pater,
    Leszek Możdżer, Marcin Wasilewski … to name a few of the fabulous line-up.

  6. nick

    The Umbria Jazz Festival In Italy, is one of the longest-running in the world is a must!

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