Last weekend from September 3-6th The Chicago Jazz Fest took place in Millennium Park. While I didn’t attend every day as I intended to. I enjoyed the shows I was able to go to. Now I’d like to share some thoughts I had on my experience at the festival overall.

I went pretty heavily on Saturday, however the festival actually started on Thursday. Many believe the festival only takes place in Millennium Park on the weekend, but the fact is it actually begins Thursday in The Chicago Cultural Center just a couple blocks away.  I like this because it’s sort of like a soft opening for the festival. Kinda cool that the festival starts in the middle of a week day.


As I stated earlier I attended mainly on Saturday and I have a few thoughts on the acts I saw. First the positives: I loved the Mark Turner Quintet and Dee Dee Bridgewater. Both were the final acts on the Jay Priztker Pavilion and absolutely killed. Acts that I wasn’t as crazy about and had a different style, were Douglas Ewart and Inventions and The Claudia Quintet. Both had a different style with spoken word heavily involved in the Claudia Quintet and free jazz “out” music displayed by Douglas Ewart and Inventions.

Another things I was not thrilled about was the sound quality especially on the smaller stages. The smaller stages were essentially in tents which I assume were put up in case of rain. Still, having us packed in tents, was probably not ideal. It gave the venue a rectangular like shape and maybe that didn’t help the audio guys. Maybe they didn’t take that into account because from the back of the venue everything sounded loud, but distorted. It wasn’t overly disruptive, but for me it was noticeable. The bigger venues were better but not by much. Hopefully in the future this gets resolved.

Overall my experience at this year’s Jazz Fest was fantastic. The crowds were huge, the music was great, and the merch booths and food/ beer venues were improved. I’m confident this Jazz Festival is in good hands and will continue to grow. Can’t wait for next year’s Jazz Festival. Hopefully I can attend more shows and be even more involved in it than I already am. If you are in town it’s a must attend event. And if you don’t live here you should come by on a visit. Very few things in life are better than summertime in Chicago during the Jazz Festival. Until next time, thank you for staying in The Jazz Loop.

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