Chicago Traveler Blog

Chicago Traveler Blog

Top 5 Reasons to Attend the Chicago Jazz Festival 2012

This year marks the 34th annual Chicago Jazz Festival and it might just be the best one yet! Taking place during Labor Day weekend each year, this festival is a must-see if you're in the area. We might even argue that it's a good reason to make sure you are in the area!

Chicago is full of some of the best jazz artists in the world and at this festival, great national and international jazz artists come together to provide some of the best entertainment you can find. The goal of the festival is to promote awareness and appreciation of jazz and to educate all ages on the vast variety of current jazz music.

So why are we so excited about this year's Chicago Jazz Festival? Read on to find our top 5 reasons to be there this summer. 

  1. It's FREE: In general we never say no to free performances, but these jazz performances are of such high caliber the fact that they are all free is almost astounding. This jazz festival in Chicago is a great excuse to visit the city for Labor Day 2012, pack a picnic lunch and make your way to all the different venues hosting the jazz concerts.
  2. The Venues: The Chicago Jazz Festival 2012 will take place at the Chicago Cultural Center, Grant Park and Millennium Park. Not only are these three venues already places you should visit in Chicago, but they are also beautiful places to hang out and enjoy the city scenery. The biggest names will be performing at Grant Park where they will have four different stages set up.
  3. Awesome Lineup: Top headlining acts for the 2012 Chicago Jazz Festival are Roy Haynes, Dianne Reeves and Allen Toussaint. The Artist in Residence this year is saxophonist and composer Ken Vandermark. If these names don't ring a bell for you, that's even more reason to head to the jazz festival this year! Also make sure to check out the countdown to the festival with fun Neighborhood Nights performances around the city. You'll hear some amazing music and find out what you've been missing. We won't be surprised if you get hooked for life on this awesome jazz.
  4. Improvisation: A common tenant of lots of jazz music is that songs are fluid and musicians often make up what they play as they go along. This means that the shows you see will be one of a kind - never before played and never to be heard again! And the improvisation of jazz does not stop with the onstage performances. If you're lucky you might stumble upon impromptu jam sessions sprinkled around the city during this exciting weekend.
  5. Friendly Crowd: The crowd at the Jazz Festival is always one of the nicest festival crowds you'll find around. Everyone is either there for a love of jazz or an open-minded willingness to try it out. The festival is very welcoming to all types of people of all different ages, and families are encouraged to enjoy the show too. Bring the kids along and introduce them to jazz music for free!

The Chicago Jazz Festival is a sure-fire good time and the best part is you can try it out at no cost. The relaxed atmosphere means you can come and go at will, and not have to worry about getting stuck in a concert you don't enjoy. 

Packing a picnic is a great way to enjoy the shows at Millennium Park and Grant Park, but you will also find food vendors and nearby restaurants if you want to pick up a meal while you're there. Make a night of it and bring your special someone along!

Even if the Chicago Jazz Festival isn't your main destination on your next vacation, enjoy Labor Day in Chicago and pop in for a song or two just to see what it's like!

Join in the conversation about the Chicago Jazz Festival on our Facebook, Twitter and Google+ pages! We can't wait to hear what you think about the 2012 turn out!