Catalina Jazz Festival Tickets
Catalina Jazz Festival ticketsThe tiny harbor town of Avalon on Santa Catalina Island, 26 miles across the ocean from the Southern California mainland, is the delightful setting for the Catalina Jazz Festival, officially the Santa Catalina Island Catalina Island JazzTrax Jazz Festival. For over 30 years running, the festival has welcomed a diverse array of smooth jazz performers, among them some big names as well as up-and-comers, to perform at unique venues on the island over two long weekends. Catalina Jazz Festival tickets are highly coveted among jazz fans from California and across the nation, and with ferry tickets and hotel rooms needed along with event tickets, it pays to plan a trip to the festival far in advance of its October schedule.
Catalina Jazz Festival background
Art Good created the Catalina Jazz Festival in 1987, in association with his well-known syndicated radio show, Art's JazzTrax. The festival is notable as the longest-running festival in America with an all smooth jazz lineup. Given Art's ability to promote his festival to loyal radio listeners across the country, it was an immediate success and has remained so every year since.
In 1991, the festival expanded from one to two weekends, and for several years even expanded to three consecutive weekends, always in August. In recent years, the festival's performances have taken place at two distinct venues. The intimate, outdoor Descanso Beach Club features seating on chaises, cabanas and seats on the sand, with the atmosphere augmented by lit fire pits and a cocktail bar open throughout performances under the stars. The second venue is a historic Art Deco landmark right on the water, the Catalina Casino.
Catalina Jazz Festival past performers
Among the many smooth jazz musicians to perform at the Catalina Jazz Festival are artists from all over the world. Some of the best-known performers in past years have been Manhattan Transfer and Take 6, performing together as "The Summit"; the "Big Windy Cat," Nick Colionne; Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter-saxophonist Mindi Abair and Ray Parker, Jr., best known as the singer and writer of the "Ghostbusters" theme song. Other famous jazz musicians to play at the festival include Booker T. Jones, Big Bad VooDoo Daddy and Trombone Shorty.
Catalina Jazz Festival experience
Getting to Catalina Island requires a ferry ride on the Catalina Express, with round-trip departures available from Long Beach and San Pedro in Los Angeles County and Dana Point in Orange County. In past years, the Catalina Express has added select late departures back to the mainland on festival weekends. A handful of jazz festival attendees make it a day trip, but most need to book a room in one of Avalon's numerous hotels. Accommodations and ferry tickets sell out far in advance of festival weekends, so book early to avoid disappointment.
Similar to the Catalina Jazz Festival
Jazz fans based in or visiting Southern California and interested in Catalina Jazz Festival tickets might also want to check out the lineups and schedules of similar events, such as the San Diego Jazz Festival and the Playboy Jazz Festival.