The Atlanta Jazz Festival will kick off its 40th year in Buckhead’s Loudermilk Park.
The main portion of the annual festival will be held over Memorial Day weekend in Piedmont Park, but events will begin April 22 with a concert in Loudermilk Park.
The festival is presenting “40 Days of Jazz” to celebrate the festival’s milestone anniversary and will mark the period leading up to the festival with performances in neighborhood parks, MARTA stations, restaurants and museums.
The first of seven neighborhood performances, and the first performance of the 40-day program, will be held in Loudermilk Park on April 22 at 6 p.m. with Julie Dexter and Joe Gransden. Councilman Michael Julian Bond, who represents Post 1 At-Large, will host that event.
The festival has collaborated with City Council members for the past 10 years to connect to the communities where performances were staged, said Camille Love, executive director of the city’s Office of Cultural Affairs, which produces the festival.
In addition to the neighborhood concerts, there will be two-hour performances in some of the MARTA stations on Monday afternoons, including one at Lindbergh Station on May 8.
The “40 Days of Jazz” series also allows the festival to celebrate International Jazz Day on April 30, Love said, which they will do with a concert at Buckhead’s Chastain Park Amphitheatre. While most events are free, including neighborhood and MARTA concerts, tickets to the Chastain show cost $40.
The April 22 concert will not only be the first Atlanta Jazz Festival event, but the first major event in Loudermilk Park since the park’s renovation. There have been some smaller events such as yoga classes or a movie, but this is the most significant, Jim Durrett, the executive director of the Buckhead Community Improvement District said.
“This is the first opportunity to dip our toes in that water and we intend to learn from this,” he said.
The Buckhead CID is planning to program more events through the spring and summer, Durrett said.
A 12-foot-tall abstract sculpture by architect and developer John Portman, the remaining piece to complete the park’s renovation, is on track to be installed before the jazz concert, Durrett said.
For more about the Atlanta Jazz Festival, see atlantafestivals.com.