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DC Jazz Festival

DC Jazz Festival - Summer music festival with free concerts in Washington, DC

10 Reasons to Attend DC JazzFest This September

Expect epic performances, international jazz and celebrations of history from Sept. 1-5

One of DC’s most exciting annual events, DC JazzFest, will take place across five days this September. The 17th edition of this beloved tradition will celebrate the sounds, stories and personalities that make this uniquely American art form sing and swing across its wealth of performances. We’ve laid out 10 reasons to enjoy the event below.


Please note: To attend both indoor and outdoor events connected to the 2021 DC JazzFest, you will be required to show proof of full vaccination against COVID-19 or a negative test within the past 72 hours of the day of the event, along with a matching photo ID. Proof of vaccination can be your physical vaccine card or a photo of your vaccine card. For more information, visit DC JazzFest's website.


The talent on display is outstanding

This international lineup includes a range of styles and performers to hook music fans of all stripes. International, national, regional and local artists will all show off their skills at venues all over DC.


DC JazzFest at The Wharf is free to attend

This epic outdoor event at one of DC's most popular spots will be free of charge (ticketed and VIP seating is also available). A seated ticket will get you up close to acts like legendary guitarist John Scofield and D-Nice, who'll close out the evening with a dance party.


Revel in the DC jazz scene

Some of DC’s best jazz artists will perform during the festival. Don’t miss electric performances from Janelle Gill, CarrKeys, the EJB Quartet, Chuck Redd, Langston Hughes II and Herb Scott.


You can experience jazz mastery and artistic genius

NEA Jazz Master Maria Schneider and violinist Regina Carter, winner of a MacArthur Genius Fellowship, will both perform at DC JazzFest at The Wharf on Sept. 4. 


Listen to emerging artists

DownBeat Magazine Rising Star saxophonist Lakecia Benjamin, The String Queens, 2021 Letter One RISING STARS Jazz Award winner Immanuel Wilkins and the two most recent DCJazzPrix champions (the Ernest Turner Trio and the EJB Quartet) perform across Sept. 4 and 5, promising marvelous discoveries.


Discover the international language of jazz

DC JazzFest showcases an exceptional array of globally renowned masters and exciting newcomers from across the jazz spectrum and well beyond, including blues, swing, soul and Latin music. The festival takes pride in presenting musicians from all over the world, including the Marco Pignataro Jazzet, who hail from Italy, and Orrin Evans' “Terreno Comum” project, which offers fresh interpretations of the music of Brazil.


Honor jazz lineage

The life of the late, great Dr. Billy Taylor will be honored with an unprecedented array of all-star programs on Sept. 4 and 5. Taylor lived a life filled with jazz, working as a composer, pianist, broadcaster and educator. He also served as artistic director for jazz at the Kennedy Center.


You will have the chance to engage with artists

DC JazzFest will offer exclusive Q&A and engagement opportunities with artists throughout the festival’s run. Stay tuned to the festival’s website for more information.


Vote for your favorite artist in the DCJazzPrix

The DCJazzPrix is an annual competition that brings together standout talent from around the world for a night of unforgettable performances. The winner of the competition, which takes place on Sunday, Sept. 5 at Union Stage, gets a $15,000 cash prize.


Celebrate an American art form

The United States Congress officially proclaimed jazz a “National Treasure” in 1987. Diehard fans of the genre likely wondered, “What took you so long?” This Sept. 1-5, you can immerse yourself in this classic American art form like never before.

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