New Orleans has its Jazz Fest. Montreux has its Jazz Festival. In NYC, it’s the JVC. In Pinellas County we gather for our own world-class musical celebration held every October at the Clearwater Jazz Holiday in the city’s downtown area.
What started as a 10-day series of jazz concerts staged from the back of a flatbed truck has evolved into a major regional jazz festival. For three decades now, the Clearwater Jazz Holiday has brought together some of the greatest jazz talents in the world in front of a large and appreciative crowd of fans. And there’s been a lot to appreciate.
Through the years the Clearwater Jazz Holiday stage has been graced by legends: Herbie Mann, Dizzy Gillespie, Tito Puente, Woody Herman and the Count Basie Orchestra only to name a few. The festival has also showcased contemporary jazz stars such as Jean-Luc Ponty, Bela Fleck, Buckwheat Zydeco, Herbie Hancock, George Benson, Natalie Cole and many more.
Against the backdrop of the Gulf of Mexico, intense sunsets vie with the music for your attention. Most spectacular of all, the event is free to the public. The Clearwater Jazz Holiday is no doubt one of the most magical musical events in the world. And, it’s only in Pinellas.