About the Amelia Island Jazz Festival
The Amelia Island Jazz Festival provides a rich, diverse cultural offering to the Amelia Island area by exposing thousands of people of all ages and backgrounds to the sounds, excitement and vitality of great jazz.
The Festival presents world-class jazz in many styles, including swing, bebop, Dixieland, big band, Latin, and contemporary. During the week-long festival, held in October each year, music is performed by jazz greats as well as fresh, up-and-coming young talent. Performances are staged in several venues around Amelia Island including Saint Michael Parish Hall, Sandy Bottoms Beach Bar & Grill, Amelia Park, Arte Pizza, the Florida House Inn, Horizons, OMNI Hotels & Resorts Amelia Island Plantation. The Amelia Island Jazz Festival helps preserve the American art form Jazz by increasing the exposure and awareness of the music genre to the general public.
A Brief but Rich Festival History
Founded in 2001, the Amelia Island Jazz Festival is very young as far as music festivals go. But this Festival has come a long way in a very short time, and shows strong potential to become a world- renowned musical event. In fact, the Amelia Island Jazz Festival seems to be following the footsteps of such festivals as the Monterey and Newport Jazz Festivals. Like the renowned jazz festivals, the Amelia Island Jazz Festival benefits from the vision and energy of a veteran jazz professional who instantly gives the Festival a rich heritage:
Les DeMerle, Artistic Director. Under his leadership the Amelia Island Jazz Festival has delivered jazz greats to enthusiastic audiences on Amelia Island:
Houston Person • Bria Skonberg • Kevin Mahogany • Larry Coryell • Randy Brecker • Tony Monaco • Mindi Abair • Royal Crown Revue • Spyro Gyra • David Benoit • Buckwheat Zydeco • Nicole Henry • Doug Cameron • Ramsey Lewis • David Sanborn • Christian Tamburr • Harry Allen • Marcus Printup • Bill Allred Classic Jazz Band • Richie Cole • Longineau Parsons • Frank Tiberi • Barry Greene • Woody Herman Sax Section • Bobby Pickwood
This type of participation, attracts area residents and visitors who attended the 2016 Amelia Island Jazz Festival. It clearly demonstrates that people of all ages and backgrounds want to hear and learn about jazz. In fact, the results from the 2016 Festival demonstrate a high level of community involvement:
- Free Concert in Amelia Park
- World-class Artists performed
- 45+ volunteers
- 25 area businesses and individuals sponsored financially
- 50 area businesses advertised
- 54 area businesses and individuals sponsored in-kind
- Nassau District Schools partnership
It’s clear that the Amelia Island Jazz Festival attracts visitors to the area, inspires and educates the public about jazz, and spreads a very positive word about Amelia Island.
The Mission of the Festival
As a not for profit 501(c)(3) corporation, the Les DeMerle Amelia Island Jazz Festival distributes proceeds toward a scholarship program to fund college educations for aspiring jazz musicians and works to provide a rich, diverse jazz offering to the Amelia Island area.
It is doing this by offering educational programs and jazz workshops in area schools and senior centers and promote Amelia Island as a tourist destination by drawing jazz enthusiasts from around the nation and the world.