Image via Mike O’Connell

Image via Mike O’Connell

Jacksonville, Fla. – Excitement is building as AARP and the City of Jacksonville finalize plans to offer great music, great fun and a wonderful, family-friendly event over Memorial Day weekend at the 32nd Jacksonville Jazz Festival May 22-26.  It’s the biggest in a series of fun, informational and educational events planned this year in Jacksonville.

For the first time this year, AARP will be the presenting sponsor of the event.  Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown and AARP Florida State Director Jeff Johnson joined city dignitaries, AARP volunteers and AARP Jacksonville Associate State Director Nancy Stanton to announce the festival’s sponsorship Feb. 11.

The announcement was a “a personal high point for me,” said Johnson, who was raised in Jacksonville and who still has family in the community.  “This is going to be not only great fun but a chance to celebrate the arts and music in a way that adds so much to Florida and to Jacksonville.”

AARP is finalizing plans to offer special discounts for AARP members participating in some special events and experiences at the festival.  Stay tuned for more details to be announced on this web page.

AARP also plans a busy schedule of events and opportunities for Jacksonville residents 50+ to learn, grow and engage.  For example, a series of Boomer Academy events will provide trusted advice and tips throughout the year.  On April 26, AARP will bring Amy Goyer, a nationally known author and expert of family and caregiving, to Jacksonville to speak at a Northeast Florida Caregiver Coalition workshop. 

On May 19, AARP will bring the Second Wind Tour to town.  Featuring Dr. Bill Thomas, author of “Second Wind: Navigating the Passage to a Slower, Deeper and More Connected Life,” , the event will this event features a unique “non-fiction” theater experience that blends the spoken word, innovative set design, film, and music into a single experience, bringing together a coalition of organizations and thought leaders who will inspire and inform you about real possibilities for Americans 50+.

In fall 2014, AARP and Governing Magazine will sponsor a Governing Roundtable forum for community members, nonprofits, philanthropies, businesses and governments to share ideas for making Jacksonville more livable for all generations.  For example, in 2011 Jacksonville has the third-highest rate of pedestrian accidents among U.S. cities.  By bringing together stakeholders, AARP Jacksonville hopes to spark creative solutions to this and other local issues.  

The May 22-26 Jazz Festival features dozens of artists and bands, including both nationally known stars and local artists.  This year’s lineup includes TIZER Feat, Karen Briggs, Marcus Johnson, Joey DeFrancesco, as well as local favorites, Linda Cole and The Joshua Bowlus Quartet, The Jacksonville Jazz Collective, JB Scott Swingin’ Allstars, and The Katz Downstairs.

Event organizers also have selected an official Jacksonville Jazz Festival poster, titled “Brilliance of Jazz,” created by artist Mike O’Connell of St. Petersburg. 

The event will include stages in four locations in the downtown Jacksonville areas as well as street fairs, vendor booths and special VIP experiences.  Additional performers and festival details will be announced as the event grows closer at www.JaxJazzFest.com , the festival’s Facebook page , on this web site or on Twitter at @AARPJax . 

Other festival favorites include the Art in the Heart juried art show and sale, the Jacksonville Jazz Festival Piano Competition presented by Keyboard Connection Piano & Organs, Youth Jazz Showcase, the Off Jazz Concert, and Jazz After Dark.

The Jacksonville Jazz Festival is produced by the City of Jacksonville Office of Special Events, with support from AARP, Jacksonville Aviation Authority, the Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Riverfront, and Keyboard Connection Pianos & Organs.