If you didn’t know that we are fortunate enough to have one of the country’s largest free jazz festivals right in our own backyard, you have been missing out! Some festivals might take place over a weekend or maybe even a week, but the annual Atlanta Jazz Festival in Piedmont Park keeps the music going throughout the month of May!
Here at Natural Sleep Mattress of Atlanta, we are incredibly grateful to be part of a community that celebrates music and the arts. People travel long distances to attend the Atlanta Jazz Festival, which attracts international attention. Those of us who live here don’t have to leave home (or the comfort of our own Pure Talalay Bliss, Hastens Luxuria or OrganicPedic mattress!).
Residents and visitors flock to Atlanta this time of year to enjoy some of the best jazz musicians performing today. More than 100 artists will be taking the stage this month in venues all around the metro area. It all leads up to a fantastic weekend celebration at Piedmont Park, featuring local talent as well as some of the nation’s jazz greats. The weekend also includes a neighborhood jazz series, youth jazz band competition, a kids zone and a range of other activities you and your family can enjoy.
If you don’t want to wait until then to start hearing some great jazz, don’t worry! Events this month include:
MARTA Mondays, featuring FREE LIVE JAZZ at a different MARTA transit station on Monday afternoons. We’re not talking about a couple of tunes, either. MARTA Mondays feature two-hour jazz concerts. If you have time this afternoon, you can catch
- May 14 from 4 – 6 pm, the Mike Walton Quartet will be performing at the Avondale Station
- May 21 from 4 – 6 pm, Grüt will be laying it down at the Midtown Station
The Neighborhood Jazz Series takes place at various City of Atlanta parks every Saturday and Sunday throughout the month. Each concert is hosted by a different City of Atlanta Councilmember and is family-friendly and FREE to the public. The remaining dates include:
- May 19: 4pm – 8pm in Wilson Mill Park, presented by Councilmember Boone
- May 20: 4pm – 8pm in Grant Park, presented by Councilmember Smith
The festival began in 1977. And from the very beginning, there was no question about the cost. In fact, the event was named “the Atlanta Free Jazz Festival.” Organizers were determined to create an event that would bring top talent to our community and allow all of us to enjoy this wonderful American art form at no cost. Remember Peaches Record Store? They were one of the first sponsors. Coca Cola got on board early, too. Even with their support, though, the budget was tight that first year. In less than 10 years, the Atlanta Jazz Festival had major national sponsorship and a reputation for pulling in some of the top jazz artists in the world.
And even though the name was changed in 1984 to the Atlanta Jazz Festival, the commitment to keep the jazz flowing freely didn’t waver. To this day, the festival remains free of charge.
Last year, the Atlanta Jazz Festival celebrated its 40th year. It’s amazing to stop and think about all the artists who have graced the festival stage over all those years, including musical legends such as Miles Davis, Dizzie Gillespie and Nina Simone.
This year, you can look forward to hearing these great performers on the festival’s Legends Stage:
Saturday, May 26
- Alexandra Jackson| 12:00pm
- Yoko Miwa Trio| 1:00pm
- Jane Bunnett & Maqueque| 3:00pm
- The Ingrid Jensen Collective| 5:00pm
- Tia Fuller Quartet| 7:00pm
- Dianne Reeves| 9:00pm
Sunday, May 27
- The Lao Tizer Quartet featuring Eric Marienthal| 1:00pm
- The Russell Malone Quartet| 3:00pm
- F. Production’s Latin Jazz All Stars| 5:00pm
- The Bad Plus| 7:00pm
- Jon Batiste with the Dap-Kings| 9:00pm
Lots of other great acts can be seen on the Next Gen Stage and the Contemporary Stage. And on Saturday night, there’s a late-night jazz jam at the Park Tavern at Piedmont Park that kicks off at 11:00 pm.
The Atlanta Jazz Festival is produced by the City of Atlanta Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs, you can find more info at atlantafestivals.com.
And, of course, if you would like more information about the best mattresses in Atlanta, we hope you will call or visit us at Natural Sleep Mattress. We are a locally owned and operated business committed to helping people sleep better, longer and deeper.