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Jacksonville – The Perfect Destination for Music Lovers

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 Jazz

Jacksonville - The Perfect Destination for Music Lovers - Jazz
Image via Flickr by Fabrice Plas.

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

Jacksonville - The Perfect Destination for Music Lovers
Image via Flickr by srietzke.

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

Jacksonville – The Perfect Destination for Music Lovers
Image via Flickr by Desmond Howl.

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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  1. Marcie W. says:

    I have yet to visit Jacksonville, but never turn down a waterfront destination. I had no idea the city had such a big music scene and consider that a huge bonus!

  2. Linda Manns Linneman says:

    I really enjoy good music. I lived in Sarasota Florida for many years and yet never visited this area for any length of time. This sounds awesome. I will have to put this on my bucket list. Thank you so much for sharing. God Bless

  3. robin rue says:

    I have never been to Jacksonville before. It sounds like a really up and coming place to visit.

  4. I have only ever been to the western tip of Florida. I would love to explore the state more!

  5. I didn’t realize Jacksonville was such a hotspot for jazz and blues fans! Very cool. We must plan a trip there.

  6. Neely Moldovan says:

    I have never been to jacksonville but it sounds amazing. I may have to talk to the hubs about this!

  7. I didn’t know Jacksonville had such a history with blues! Very cool. I’d love to check out some jazz performances there and maybe attend the Jazz festival.

    1. @Liz, it was surprised to discover this as well. I always thought of it as a sports town.

  8. Emily Smith says:

    It’s always a great experience to enjoy music in new venues and different cities! Jacksonville sounds like a great spot to discover the music scene.

    1. @Emily, I don’t actively seek out music destinations, but this one has so much!

  9. Annemarie LeBlanc says:

    Jazz music is the best to listen to when you want to relax. I love going into a place where they play live jazz music. I have not been to Jacksonville in a long time but if I get the chance, I’d be right inside a restaurant and enjoy good food and great music.

    1. @AnneMarie, it is a great spot for jazz, the festival is probably not as relaxing as a night out at a club…

  10. Tammy Catterton says:

    I use to live near Jacksonville I wish I had explore it more .

    1. @Tammy, I did the same the first time I lived near San Francisco. I moved away and when I returned 3 years later I made a promise to expplore my own backyard more.

  11. Esperanza Garcia says:

    Just want to say Jacksonville was my first stop that my ex and I made and we had a beautiful time there. I will always cherish those memories!

    1. @Esperanza, I’m so glad that I could trigger your wonderful memories!

  12. shannon fowler says:

    My friend is moving there and hasn’t been that excited about it. Ill have to share this post with her.

  13. Valerie lerma says:

    sounds like a great adventure

  14. Never been to Jacksonville, but I’d like to visit!

  15. Kayleigh Watkins says:

    It sounds wonderful and if ever I visit from the UK I’ll be sure to check it out xx

    1. @Kayleigh, Florida is a popular spot for Europeans, so you just may get a chance one day!

  16. I did not know this about Jacksonvill. Always have heard about Austin and of course Nashville and Memphis, but I didn’t know Florida had it’s own music city. Thanks for telling us about it.

  17. Lots of great music to feed the soul! I have never yet travelled to Jacksonville but would be a great musical experience.

  18. kathy downey says:

    Never been to Jacksonville before but i grew up with music and it played an important part of my life!

  19. Calvin F. says:

    Never knew it was a place of music.

  20. This sounds like just what I need. A trip away with great music to feed my ears!

  21. Gary Starling says:

    Just saw this Andi and wanted to say thanks for the mention and for helping expose/promote Jax’s jazz scene in your blog. I must say this town has a rich jazz history and I was fortunate to be in about the middle of it! Jazz scenes are a tough go for any city so thanks again for your thoughts