It’s A Jazz Thing – Two International Jazz Festivals You’ve Probably Never Heard Of..

By Posted in - Featured Post & Inspiration & Travel Resources on April 22nd, 2011
Amazing photo by Tom Marcello.


Jazz is not dead.

No doubt, it has been pushed to the fringes of our popular culture. But jazz’s impact and influence on American as well as World music are undeniable. Jazz is a language that transcends international borders.

Switzerland is home to the Montreux Jazz Festival, arguably one of the world’s most famous jazz festival. And of course, the United States has the The Newport Jazz Festival and New Orleans Jazz Fest. But as I found out after living in San Francisco, lesser known Jazz festivals, like the one in San Francisco’s North Beach neighborhood, can be just as much as a scene as the more popular ones. While I’m still working on getting to Newport (this year may be the year), I’ve picked out two lesser known international festivals where jazz rhythms ooze from every orifice of the city during festival days.

Ankara Jazz Festival | Turkey

Now in its 21st year, music from the acclaimed international festival flows through Ankara and Izmir with stops in Eskisehir and Gaziantep, and into popular venues across the region. Like San Francisco, jazz masters play alongside innovative, new artists. Last years performers included The Sun Ra Arkestra, Diane Schuur, Miroslav Vitous, John Surman, Omar Sosa, Nils Petter Molvaer, and Hindi Zahra. For travelers planning their Turkey holidays, the Ankara Jazz Festival runs for approximately three weeks starting in the last week of September.

Ocho Rios Jazz Festival | Jamaica

Like most good jazz, the Ocho Rios Jazz Festival started as an experiment. In 1991, Sonny Bradshaw, a musician and journalist, orchestrated a one-day event called The Ochos Rios “Mini” Jazz Festival to redefine the Jamaican music scene by providing an event that families could enjoy together.

Within in three years, the event grew from one day–initially held on Father’s Day–to an eight day festival bringing together Jamaica’s greatest players with top international jazz musicians. In keeping with its tradition of promoting family holidays to the island, The Ocho Rios Jazz Festival features programs for youth as well as performances in Kingston, Montego Bay, Negril and Runaway Bay.

*Please remember all photos on this website, unless otherwise noted, are copyrighted and property of, & Bethany Salvon. Please do not use them without my permission. If you want to use one of them please contact me first because I do love to share and I would be flattered. Thanks!

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(8) awesome folk have had something to say...

  • Bluegreen Kirk -

    April 22, 2011 at 5:51 am

    Really enjoy listening to jazz but you are right I have never heard of these two festivals. By the way i really love the name…Beersandbeans!

  • Turkey’s For Life -

    April 24, 2011 at 6:57 am

    We just can’t do jazz. It always get so, well, jazzy. 🙂 For that reason, we’ve never been to any of the big Turkish jazz festivals. We come from Wigan in Northwest England and that has a pretty big jazz festival too. If I remember rightly, it’s claim to fame was that Clint Eastwood’s son headlined. That’s a VERY big claim to fame for little old Wigan.

    • Bethany -

      April 25, 2011 at 8:00 am

      hahah…I totally agree! Randy loves Jazz and I do too but I hate the fast paced, crazy jazz. I only really like the mellow kind of jazz. @Turkey’s For Life,

  • Raymond -

    April 25, 2011 at 9:03 pm

    I’m with Bethany too — I just wasn’t born with that jazz gene, but I do like listening to the slow stuff…

    • Bethany -

      April 26, 2011 at 8:08 am

      ahaha! glad you agree. Yes, the fast stuff is annoying! But the slow stuff is so good. 🙂@Raymond,

  • Tom Marcello -

    May 14, 2011 at 8:05 pm

    I’ve heard of both of those festivals, but then, I’m in the business.
    That’s a nice use of my photo of Anthony Braxton, and I love the name of your blog.


    Tom Marcello
    Manager/Joe Locke

    • Bethany -

      May 16, 2011 at 4:09 pm

      Thanks Tom! I’m really happy to hear you liked how we used your photo. We both really dig it a lot! Have you ever attended either one of the festivals?