Disclosure: This post was created in collaboration with InterContinental Hotels Group. As always, all opinions are my own.
Florida is many things to many people. Beach people. Food people. Adventure people. But what I didn't realize is that Florida is a great place for music people. In particular, the city of Jacksonville is the perfect destination for music lovers. Jacksonville has a deep pool of music history that thrives today, drawing visitors from all over the world. If your soul stirs at the beat of the drum, the strum of a guitar, or the blow of a horn, you need to get to Jacksonville!
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Before I dive into where you can enjoy the great music scene in town, you might also be aware that Jacksonville has a big community. It's home to the Jaguars, the Gators and NASCAR. As for accommodations, look no further than IHG hotels near Everbank Field, to be close to the sports action and you'll find yourself close to lots of music venues as well.
Jacksonville's annual jazz festival is the second largest in the United States. Taking place over a weekend in May, this event celebrates one of the only music genres that is undisputedly American. Jazz greats like Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, and Louis Armstrong delighted crowds every week in Jacksonville's Ritz Theater, built in 1929. The art deco theater still stands today with its original sign sticking out of the northwest corner of the building.
When it comes to seeing live jazz, there are a plethora of club and bar choices in Jacksonville. Check out a jam session at Jazzland Cafe (1324 University Blvd N.) or try to catch local legend Gary Starling playing a gig. The jazz scene is alive and well and can be experienced any night of the week.
You can keep up with live performance schedules in Jacksonville by checking out Live Music Maven. Use it when planning your music-filled journey.
The Original House of Blues
The first published story about “The Blues” was reported after the April 16, 1910, performance by ventriloquist comedian-turned-singer John W. F. Woods after he played in LaVilla. The LaVilla neighborhood was the first annexed suburb in Jacksonville and was considered to be a “mecca for African-American culture and heritage.” The blues tradition continues today with an annual Springing the Blues Festival, one of the largest blues festivals in the country.
Outside of this event, there are over a dozen blues bar in Jacksonville to take in this deeply expressive music genre. To combine some of the city's best barbecue with live music, don't miss a meal at MOJO Kitchen, BBQ Pit & Blues Bar (1500 Beach Blvd.). The burnt ends BBQ blue burger, onion rings, and mac and cheese is a fan favorite.
A Little Bit Country, A Little Bit Rock and Roll…and Blues
Of course, if you are looking for a little something more modern, then how about a little southern rock? Southern rock is described as a little bit country, a little bit rock ‘n' roll with some blues thrown in. Southern rock legends The Allman Brothers and Lynyrd Skynyrd (although originally called The Pretty Ones) bands were formed in Jacksonville in 1969. These bands are still considered the greatest when it comes to this genre of music that will never die.
Jacksonville has many great venues to see local cover bands playing all the classics. Fans also have an annual festival which takes place in September. Although the best part may be the slow-cooked pig roasts that are part of the event.
If music is in your soul, then Jacksonville is where you need to worship; it's the perfect destination for music lovers.
How about you? Have you enjoyed music (or something else) in Jacksonville? Do share! Are you now inspired to visit Jacksonville to check out their music scene? Do tell!
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