The Jacksonville Jazz Festival kicks off Thursday night with the annual Jazz Piano Competition at the Florida Theatre.
The annual Memorial Day weekend event brings tens of thousands of people into downtown Jacksonville. It began in Mayport Village in 1979 under Mayor Jake Godbold, but it quickly became too popular to be housed in the small village and was moved to Metropolitan Park which had just recently been open.
WJCT took over the Jazz Festival in 1985, the city took over in 2003.
Jacksonville Director of Special Events Tonisha Landry Gaines's department is responsible for booking the acts.
She says they work with several booking agents to determine who is available to perform at the festival. She says most of the bookings come from audience requests.
Free concerts kick off Friday at three downtown Jacksonville locations.
Several streets downtown will be closed to vehicles over the weekend.
You can learn more and see the full line up of performers at the Jacksonville Jazz Festival site.