Beautiful melodies, unreal improvisation, unbeatable talent, and burning passion. Those are just a few of the features of jazz music that make it so irresistible. But there’s nothing like live jazz music. Experiencing the feeling first-hand as talented artists fill the air with stunning chord progressions, mesmeric drum beats, and sensual Sax licks, all while you stand amidst equally passionate music fans; it's just unbeatable.
The UK has an incredibly active Jazz scene along with the festivals to go with it, with events ranging from sprawling weekend-long outdoor occasions to smaller more intimate day festivals. But, that's not where they stop. Jazz is a universal language and we've also got events from every corner of the globe. From Indonesia to the US to Scandinavia, Jazz is everywhere.
So here’s our list of the best jazz festivals that you should definitely be keeping an eye on in 2022. With lineups that boast household names and up-and-coming talent, you’re certain to find a festival that speaks to you here.
(Click on the headers or images for FAQs and more information about each festival, and make sure to secure tickets in the boxes below each event.)
Cross The Tracks
Image: Cross The Tracks on Facebook
2023 Lineup: NxWorries (Anderson .Paak and Knxwledge), Masego, Kelis, Alfa Mist, Roy Ayers, Children of Zeus
When: Sunday 28th May 2023
Where: Brockwell Park in London
Probably the coolest British festival on this list, and for good reason, Cross the Tracks is a breath of fresh air amongst the festival landscape, and it is returning to South London in 2023 at Brixton's luscious Brockwell Park for a day of music, food, workshops, talks and more.
A mixture of legendary and upcoming artists have been invited once again to represent a hybrid of jazz, soul and funk, and the lineup is well and truly stacked with awesome talent.
They will also be inviting some of London's most talked about street food traders, alongside the city's finest craft beer brewers, For a gastronomic experience that few festivals could even hope to achieve. Plus, outside of food and music, there will also be talks, panels, workshops, a wellness area and creative markets including a record and art fair. It's truly one of a kind.
Tickets for Cross The Tracks
We Out Here
Image: We Out Here on Facebook
2023 lineup: Black Midi, Sun Ra Arkestra, Goldie, Nubiya Garcia, Brian Jackson, Marcos Valle, Makaya McCraven
When: Thursday 10th - Monday 14th August 2023
Where: Wimborne St Giles in Wimborne
We Out Here is a festival for everyone, with this ethos reflected in the bold and wild-spanning programme which extends from spiritual jazz to live drum and bass, bossa nova to British funk, all represented by true pioneers and exciting emerging talent alike.
Astral jazz legends Sun Ra Arkestra, led by the visionary Marshall Allen, lead the programme highlights, alongside seminal British funk band Cymande, the enigmatic Black Midi, renowned for their mind-bending live show, and Marcos Valle who has remained on the cutting edge of Brazilian music for generations. It's one of the best festivals in the Uk to see Jazz acts on big stages, but the relatively intimate vibe means that the essence of the music isn't drowned out. Get those tickets, you won't regret it.
Tickets for We Out Here
Maiden Voyage Festival
Image: Maiden Voyage on Facebook
2023 lineup: DJ Boring, CASISDEAD, DJ EZ, Interplanetary Criminal, Nooriyah, Sainte, VTSS
When: Sunday 27th August 2023
Where: Lee Valley Showground, London
Possibly the best festival for those who want to attend a cracking, incredibly diverse festival without breaking the bank, Maiden Voyage is back with an eclectic lineup of jazz, hip-hop, electronica, soul, world music, techno and more.
Festival fans are all too familiar with the gut-wrenching feeling of your favourite artists clashing. It might be the single worst thing about music festivals. But Maiden Voyage seems all too aware of the pain themselves and took action by having the artists share the same stage to avoid any heartbreaking clashes. Perfect!
As always, ticket prices will increase with each release, so save yourself a few quid and secure your tickets now!
Find more information on Maiden Voyage Festival - here
Love Supreme Jazz Festival
Image: Love Supreme Jazz Festival on Facebook
2023 Lineup: Thundercat, Marcus Miller, Gabriels, Pip Millet, Mulatu Astatke, Obongjayar, Mica Millar
When: Friday 30th June - Sunday 2nd July 2023
Where: Glynde Palace, East Sussex
The Love Supreme Jazz Festival is a 3-day festival, held in the first weekend of July, and set in the stunning surroundings of Glynde Place in the beautiful South Downs in East Sussex. It is the first full weekend camping jazz festival in the UK, and if the lineups have anything to go off, it's going to be a real treat for any genre fans.
The festival has 4 stages: The Main Stage which hosts headliners and more contemporary artists with a soul and funk lineage; The Big Top which hosts the cream of international and UK jazz artists; The Arena where you will find younger artists pushing the limits of what jazz, soul and funk is in the present day; and The Bandstand which has the best jazz in East Sussex and Brighton hosted by the Verdict Jazz Club.
Elsewhere there are also DJs and club nights, talks and lectures, panels, classic album playbacks, films, dance classes, kids' areas, VIP experiences, camping, and a fairground... it’s an immersive musical weekend which has quickly built a loyal and dedicated following.
Find more information on Love Supreme Jazz Festival - here
Mostly Jazz, Funk and Soul Festival
Image: Mostly Jazz, Funk and Soul Festival on Facebook
2023 lineup: Fat Freddys Drop, Goldie, Jungle (DJ Set), Mr Scruff, Crazy P Soundsystem, Norman Jay MBE, Eva Lazarus
When: Friday 7th - Sunday 9th July 2023
Where: Mosely Park in Birmingham
Set in the beautiful landscape of Moseley's private park in Birmingham, the Mostly Jazz, Funk and Soul Festival brings an eclectic weekend of music with a whole host of international and local artists, set around their jazzy theme.
Over the last 10 years and more the festival organisers have forged together their own eclectic mix of Jazz, Funk and Soul. Although the lineup sometimes strays outside these genres, they have never compromised with the quality of music on the bill.
The bill in 2023 might have only have had one announcement so far, but it's already filled with royalty.
Find more information on Mostly Jazz, Funk and Soul Festival - here
New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival
Image: New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival on Facebook
2023 lineup: There are too many names to list with this one, just look at the size of the poster...
When: Thursday 28th April - Sunday 7th May 2023
Where: Fair Grounds Race Course, New Orleans
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 to name a few.
This year the likes of Ed Sheeran, Lizzo, Wu-Tang Clan, Leon Bridges, Steve Miller Band, Ne-Yo, and The Revivalists, as well as an absolutely massive array of all the best Jazz music across the two weekends, that is too numerous to list.
Whilst more genres than ever are on show at the festival, there can be no denying that it is a dream come true for any fan of jazz music. Plus, the rest of the bookings, whilst featuring some of the biggest names, are all acts that incorporate Jazz elements into their 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.
Jakarta International Java Jazz Festival
Image: Jakarta International Java Jazz Festival on Facebook
2023 lineup: TBA
When: Friday 2nd - Sunday 4th June 2023
Where: Jakarta International Expo, Jakarta
We're heading to the other side of the world with this one, all the way to Indonesia, for the biggest Jazz festival in the entire southern hemisphere, Jakarta International Java Jazz Festival. Since its establishment in 2005, the festival has become one of the biggest events on the Indonesian festival calendar, attracting more than 1,000 Jazz players from Indonesia and all across the world.
This year is the 12th edition of the festival, and whilst the lineup isn't out yet, it's pretty much always guaranteed that you'll be seeing some incredible musical collectives. The 2022 edition was headlined by the likes of JoJo, PJ Morton, and The Temptations, alongside a whole host of local and international talent.
Whilst the plane ticket for this one will set you back a few bob, it'll be more than worth it, plus, you'll get he chance to explore one of the most beautiful corners of the world whilst your out there.
Telluride Jazz Festival
Image: Telluride Jazz Festival on Facebook
2023 lineup: TBA
When: Friday 11th - Sunday 13th August 2023
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.
Last year's edition saw the likes of Yola, the Motet with special guests Jennifer Hartwick, Shira Elias and Jason Hann, and Cory Wong grace the wonderful hill-top stage; which basically means you have no need to worry about this year's lineup, it's bound to be just as good, if not better.
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 unique chance to get close to some of your favourites.
North Sea Jazz Festival
Image: North Sea Jazz Festival on Facebook
2023 lineup: TBA
When: Friday 7th - Sunday 9th July 2023
Where: Rotterdam, The Netherlands
NN North Sea Jazz Festival is one of the largest indoor music festivals in the world, known around the globe as one of the best places to see a melting pot of the past, present and future of jazz. Next to a firm base of jazz, many genres will pass by, such as blues, soul, funk, hip hop, world, pop and much more
In the past, this whopper of a fest has had Miles Davis, Sarah Vaughan, Urban Sax, Gary Clark Jr, Ray Charles, and many more big names grace the stage, so you can rely on the organisers to deliver a stunning lineup in 2022. The festival has taken place annually since 1976 and is now a huge, well-respected festival that around 75,000 lucky music fans get to experience each year.
If jazz is a passion, this is a festival to keep an eye on.
Copenhagen Jazz Festival 2023
Image: Copenhagen Jazz Festival in 2023
2023 Lineup: Check their website, there are too many to list.
When: Friday 30th June - Sunday 9th July
Where: Rotterdam, The Netherlands
We're finishing off with a big'un. Copenhagen jazz festival is well known within Jazz circles to be one of the most esteemed, and essential Jazz festivals on the entire planet. Established in 1979, the festival, which happens over the space of 10 days, now numbers more than 100 venues, 1100 concerts, and approximately 260,000 guests. Yup, it's big.
2023 marks the most awaited return of the Copenhagen classic, with it having been on hiatus since before covid. With this in mind, you just know that it's one not to be missed, as they will be pulling out all the stops for its much-awaited return.
Get your bag packed, your flights booked, and your ears ready, as this one is set to be the best of the lot.
There are plenty of amazing jazz festivals just waiting for you to discover them. But with tickets selling rapidly, it’s a good idea to secure your tickets now to avoid disappointment.
Have these jazz festivals got you excited for festival season this year? Click here to take a look at our festival guides and choose from a whole host of events that are going ahead in 2021.
Header Image: We Out Here Festival (Facebook)