Jazz: America’s Music

It’s time to jump, jive, and wail when Sun Valley transforms into Bourbon Street west during the Sun Valley Jazz and Music Festival.  From October 19 – 23, attendees from all 50 states, every Canadian province, and all over the world flock to Sun Valley for amazing music and good times that roll and roll and roll.

If you love everything about jazz, then the Sun Valley Jazz and Music Festival, coming October 19 – 23, is for you

Since 1990, fans of traditional Jazz and Swing and Blues have come together to celebrate music. According to festival organizers, “This experience of telling the story of ‘American’ music is our passion. Amazing isn’t it? We all get to be part of this history while it’s still in the making. The names that ring through eternity—Armstrong, Ellington, Fitzgerald, Beiderbecke, Goodman, Holliday, Basie, Shaw, Miller, and so many more—have created a legacy of delight that lives on through those of us who participate in this jazz festival. The history of this music echoes the history of twentieth century America.”

Festival offerings run from 9:30 in the morning to the wee hours of the night. Below, please find some highlights and for a full schedule of events, please click HERE.

The Performers
No matter your taste in jazz-based music, you are sure to find something you already love and a lot and new music you will love by the end of the weekend.  Some of the country’s top performers will be in Sun Valley playing styles including Vintage Jazz, Swing, Big Band, Zydeco, Blues, Gypsy, Stride, Boogie-Woogie, Cabaret, Folk, and Contemporary Jazz. The long weekend features 40 bands with performances by more than 200 musicians. Trios, quartets, guest artists, a cappella groups, brass bands, banjo players, dueling pianos, powerhouse singers, swing bands … there are too many to name! Please click HERE for the full lineup and spend some time planning your itinerary.

Dancing is a big part of the fun of the Jazz and Music Festival. Even if you are a novice, dance lessons will have you out on the dance floor looking and feeling like a pro

The Parties
Start things off on the right foot before the festival even officially kicks off on Tuesday, October 18, with a Mardi Gras party from 6 – 9 p.m. Featuring the New Orleans Racket Makers, Tom Rigney & Flambeau, and Gator Nation, this evening kicks the week to come into high gear. From there, the party is non-stop. On the 19th, there is an Opening Jazz Party in the Limelight Room at the Sun Valley Inn beginning at 7 p.m. Five bands will make sure the festival starts out of the right note.  On Thursday, the 20th, the big party is the Big Band Bash with Benny Goodman & Artie Shaw followed by Zydeco Hurricane featuring Gator Nation and Tom Rigney & Flambeau. The Afterglow Dinner closes out the weekend in style on Sunday. Hailed as “the most enjoyable dinner of the year”, this event takes place in the Limelight Room, features delicious fare plus the music of Yve Evans and the All Star Big Band dance with host Joe Midiri.

Getting out onto the dance floor is almost de rigueur at the Jazz and Music Festival. Don’t dance? Don’t worry! Dance lessons are held throughout the five days and if you are a star swing dancer or a novice in the jitterbug, energetic and enthusiastic dance pros will get your feet moving.  Whether you want to try Six Count Swing, Charleston, Balboa, Foxtrot, Swing, Line Dancing, or the Lindy, your HQ will be the River Room Lodge at the base of Bald Mountain. There, great teachers will get you ready to dance the night away to your favorite performers.

The Experience
Certainly, the Sun Valley Jazz and Music Festival is about music, but it’s also about the experience. Participants get dressed up with glitter and boas and stylish suits to enjoy the concerts, take to the dance floor, and soak it all in. But much of the fun happens between events, too, as friends old and new gather to enjoy a meal, a cocktail, or a little shopping. Everyone agrees that a huge part of the Festival experience is all the memories that are made both during scheduled events and during down time. In between music, take advantage of this beautiful season in Sun Valley. Enjoy a bike ride or hike, play a round of golf or cast for rainbow trout. Scenic drives extend in every direction.

The Jazz and Music Festival isn’t just about music – it’s an entire experience! Dressing the part if definitely part of the fun

Enjoy it for Free
Festival passes are required for most events, but there are chances to see some amazing talent when performers get out into the community. For instance, on Wednesday, at 12:30 p.m., Jacob Miller & the Bridge City Crooners perform in downtown Ketchum at Giacobbi Square. On Thursday at the same time and the same place, enjoy the stylings of Tom Rigney & Flambeau. On Friday, it is the U.S. Navy 32nd Street Brass Band’s turn to entertain in Ketchum. At 2 p.m. that day, the Yale Whiffenpoofs perform at the Inn Duck Pond (weather permitting). Saturday at 2 p.m. the Whiffenpoofs return at 2 p.m. to the Duck Pond and are joined by Borah High CDV JE. On Sunday, Yve Evans performs at the Our Lady of the Snows Catholic Church and the Midiri Brothers Sextet play at the Presbyterian Church of the Big Wood.  

Even if you can’t devote an entire long weekend to music, be sure to catch one of the free concerts in Ketchum and Sun Valley

Where It All Happens
Sun Valley is headquarters for everything Jazz during the Festival. Much is of fun centered at the Sun Valley Inn – the Limelight Room, the Continental Room, the Ram Room, and the Inn Lobby Lounge.  The Inn is also where you check in.  Other locales are the Opera House, Satchmo’s (the Boiler Room), River Run Lodge, the Sawtooth Speakeasy, and Duchin Piano Bar at the Sun Valley Lodge. Please click HERE for a map of venues.

It’s all that jazz in October in Sun Valley.  Get ready to soak it all in!



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