The Clearwater Jazz Holiday is held annually in Coachman Park and this year marks the 30th anniversary of the event. “Jazz holiday is the premier event in Clearwater every year,” said Mayor Hibbard at the poster unveiling. “This year, as always, is going to be better than the last.” Last year, the Jazz ‘N Art Walk was added to the festival, and it returns again this year, expanding the amount of blocks it occupies on Cleveland Street. Next year, the festival would like to incorporate the Capitol Theatre into the event.
For thirty years, the Clearwater Jazz Holiday has brought some of the biggest names in jazz to Clearwater. The crowds have swelled to 60,000, with an estimated 30,000 of them coming from out of town. The festival is put on with the help of the City of Clearwater and hard-working volunteers, and is funded through donations. It is through donations and volunteers (14,000 volunteered for last year’s festival), that this event has managed to stay admissionfree for three decades despite bringing in big names like Tony Bennett.
The High Note Society is one way the Clearwater Jazz Holiday receives contributions. Everyone is welcome to join the society, and take advantage of special privileges that include VIP tickets, T-shirts, posters and invitations to special social events throughout the year, such as the upcoming High Note Social at the Sandpearl Resort in July. Membership prices range from $100 to $3000.
The performing line-up for this year’s Clearwater Jazz Holiday will be announced at Marine Max in Clearwater on August 18th, although it has already been leaked that the Neville Brothers will be the festival’s closing act on Sunday, October 18th. “We try to start it with a bang and close it with a bang,” says Bill Smith, the former president of the Jazz Force – the corps of volunteers who organize the annual event. “We like to have a little something for everyone.”
On October 6th, the 4th Annual Flavor of Jazz fund-raiser food tasting and show will be held at Ruth Eckerd Hall. The Clearwater Jazz Holiday itself will be held October 15th through the 18th, and the Jazz ‘N Art Walk will take place on the 17th and 18th.
To read about last year’s Clearwater Jazz Holiday or to find out more about it, the High Note Society or volunteering, go to www.clearwaterjazz.com, or call (727)-461-5200.