Music lovers can get ready to welcome back acclaimed jazz musicians and local talents to the live stage of Clearwater Beach with the return of the 31st Annual Suncoast Jazz Festival from November 19-21. After marking its 30-year milestone with a virtual festival in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, this year’s festivities promise to deliver three days of classic jazz and a variety of other music genres including swing, big band, blues, banjo, zydeco and more being performed by national, international, and local artists each day and night of the festival.
The Brubeck Brothers Quartet (above feature image) headlines the 2021 roster of entertainment, making their first ever appearance at the festival. They are joined by other first-time Suncoast Festival guests including the Ed Metz Trio with Rossanno Sportiello and Nikki Parrott (LEFT), piano legend Dick Hyman, and the Al Downing All Stars. Another exciting new guest, hailing all the way from Brazil, is Grammy-nominated guitarist Diego Figueiredo (below RIGHT). This year’s lineup is comprised of over 80 musicians and bands who will play at this year’s event with rotating performances hourly across five simultaneous indoor venue stages and ballrooms at the Sheraton Sand Key Resort and Marriott Suites Sand Key.
For more than 30 years, the nonprofit organization behind this popular annual music festival has been committed to its mission of promoting what it considers the truest American art form – jazz. Throughout the year, Suncoast Jazz Classic, Inc. supports young musicians as well as local schools and their bands through scholarship and performance opportunities and have donated nearly $100,000 to demonstrate its dedication. Those who come out each year to the organization’s signature event, the Suncoast Jazz Festival, ultimately provide the greatest support of all for their mission.
Suncoast Festival Director Joan Dragon says her team is ready for audiences to return. “We’re so excited to be able to present live music this year,” she says. “There is nothing like experiencing great jazz surrounded by an enthusiastic audience.”
In addition to this year’s new performers taking part in the festival, old favorites will be returning including Jason Marsalis, Professor Cunningham and His Old School (below RIGHT), Cornet Chop Suey (below two blocks LEFT), Tom Rigney and Flambeau, and Tampa Bay’s own La Lucha (LEFT). A complete list of performers participating in the 2021 Suncoast Jazz Festival is available online. Click here to access.
A variety of ticket packages are available including Sponsor, Benefactor, and Three-Day Weekend badges as well as individual daytime and evening tickets. Tickets can be purchased online at the festival website. Though performances by local youth bands and artists are free, donations are encouraged and can be made directly on the festival site.
As with past years, parking is free, and complimentary Jolly Trolley shuttles will be available over the three days to transport attendees to and from hotels and their concert venues. For the safety of performers, event staff and guests attending, the Festival will be following CDC guidelines as its Covid-19 safety protocol, and attendees will be required to provide either a proof of vaccination or negative Covid -19 test results from the past 72 hours upon check-in. Guests also are asked to wear masks at all times (except when eating and drinking).
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