Clearwater Jazz Holiday, A Fusion of Fun, Music and Community

Enjoy A Top Area Event with a Purpose

by Chris Kuhn

For over four decades, music fans have come together annually on the third week of October to delight in world-class, live jazz and other entertainment in an effort to support community education programs. The Clearwater Jazz Holiday music festival has become a popular tradition and in its 42nd year, promises to deliver yet again October 14-17, 2021. (Feature image above of Kool and the Gang).

Big Bad Voodoo Daddy  sets out to open Friday night at the BayCare Ballpark

BayCare Ballpark, an open-air stadium venue located at 601 N. Old Coachman in Clearwater, serves as the backdrop for the fun and festive four-day and four-night live music celebration. This year’s festival lineup promises something for everybody. Each day offers a full afternoon and evening schedule of musical performers and winds down with headline entertainment. This year’s featured performers include early funk & R&B legends Kool & the Gang Thursday, October 14; contemporary swing showstoppers Big Bad Voodoo Daddy Friday, October 15; soulful songstress Gloria Gaynor Saturday, October 16; and winding down the festivities, jazz-funk-and-world music instrumental ensemble Snarky Puppy Sunday, October 17. (Big Bad Voodoo Daddy-Right image cropped to fit).

About Clearwater Jazz Holiday Foundation:

Festival organizer Clearwater Jazz Holiday Foundation, a 501 (c)(3) organization, has launched and supported numerous educational programs and community projects in the Bay area including its Build-A-Guitar Program, Operation Graduate Summer Workshops

Festival organizer Clearwater Jazz Holiday Foundation, a 501 (c)(3) organization, has launched and supported numerous educational programs and community projects in the Bay area including its Build-A-Guitar Program, Operation Graduate Summer Workshops, St. Petersburg College Music Industry and Recording Arts Program and various music scholarships through the Pinellas Education Foundation and the Jazz Program at the Marcia P. Hoffman School of the Arts. These initiatives are funded through the support of valuable partnerships in the community and a busy calendar of activities and fundraising events it hosts throughout the year, most notably its popular Clearwater Jazz Holiday festival which draws over 35,000 people.

Brandi Carlile has been one of the many great acts to perform over the last 42 years of the Clearwater Jazz Holiday

The jazz festival’s long, rich history began in 1980 as a series of concerts showcased on the back of flatbed trucks at venues across Clearwater with an extraordinary list of jazz legends among the festival’s earliest participants such as Woody Herman, Buddy Rich, Dizzy Gillespie, Herbie Mann and Dave Brubeck. More recent festivals have included headliners spanning a wide range of genres from Tony Bennett and Earth, Wind & Fire to Kenny Loggins and Brandi Carlile-shown right).

Gloria Gaynor set to sing at the Clearwater Jazz Holiday on Saturday night

Ticket options for the 42nd Clearwater Jazz Holiday include General Admission Open Seat ($25.00 + fee) and General Admission Standing Room Only, SRO ($10.00 + fee). Children ages 4 and younger are free when accompanying a paid adult with a General Admission SRO ticket. A limited number of VIP Experience 2-seat and 4-seat ticket packages will also be available for each day of the event. (Left: Gloria Gaynor featured Saturday night).

Clearwater Jazz Holiday Event Protocol and More:

Clearwater Jazz Holiday Logo

Festival organizers are following the mask/facial coverings rules and regulations set forth by BayCare Ballpark and the City of Clearwater. Current posted guidelines at BayCare Park do not require masks while in outdoor areas though unvaccinated fans are strongly encouraged to always wear face coverings. For indoor areas, fans are encouraged to wear masks. Safety guidelines may be updated prior to the event and will be communicated via email and posted at the event and on the event website.

The following are not permitted at this year’s festival: outside food and beverages; bags except for medical or diaper purposes; weapons, knives, firearms, tasers or other dangerous devices or substances; animals except for special events and service animals; and chairs, folding chairs or camp chairs. Blankets are permitted for viewing from grass outfield berm seating.

Guests who will be driving to the festival may want to reference online maps at the event website indicating location of parking lots. Parking is available in Lots A, B and C for $20 per car. Those using ride-sharing services such as Uber or Lyft should use the designated pickup/drop off area in the South Parking Lot located at the corner of U.S. 19 and Drew St.

Festival attendees will have an opportunity to check out dozens of local food and business vendors.  To check out a list of this year’s participating partners and vendors and to purchase tickets, visit the event website at clearwaterjazz.com. To purchase event tickets by phone, contact the E-ticket Box Office at 800-514-3849. Festival goers can stay up to date with any entertainment lineup changes by following the 42nd Clearwater Jazz Holiday at Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter.

Content provided by the Clearwater Jazz Holiday and Foundation. All photos are for editorial purposes only. All rights reserved. Story written for Destination Tampa Bay™ by contributing author Chris Kuhn. See a previous Jazz Holiday event here.

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