Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

It's not all jazz, but the Clearwater Jazz Holiday still draws music lovers

CLEARWATER — For a while, all the stressful things grabbing for people's attention got drowned out by the sounds of keyboards and guitars and horns.

Worried about our dysfunctional government, flood insurance rates, the jobless recovery or Tampa Bay's winless NFL team? Those kinds of problems faded into the distance Thursday as musicians took the stage for opening night of the Clearwater Jazz Holiday.

A local classic that's now in its 34th season, the festival will continue today through Sunday at Coachman Park on the downtown Clearwater waterfront.

"Yes sir, it's Jazz Holiday time. I'm ready to be carried away, baby," Clearwater music lover Patty Knapp said as she settled herself amid a sea of people in collapsible lawn chairs. "I look forward to this time of year."

The weekend forecast looks like a mixed bag for an outdoor festival. It calls for partly sunny, partly cloudy days with temperatures in the high 80s and a chance of scattered showers on Sunday.

Two sorts of people seemed to dominate Thursday's crowd: regulars who come every year, and those who had never been before. The newbies showed up for Thursday night's headliner, the long-running rock band Chicago.

"This is my first concert at Coachman Park. I was afraid it would be complicated to navigate. But I've got a great spot," said Susan Tyburski of Largo.

At the first Jazz Holiday in 1980, the bands played on the bed of a flatbed truck. Since then, the festival has evolved into Clearwater's signature event, backed by an army of volunteers who do the bulk of the work.

There have been two major changes in recent years.

Not just jazz: It's not just about jazz anymore. Organizers seek a lineup that will appeal to a broad base of fans. That means a diverse grouping of jazz, funk, alt-country and pop talent.

No longer free: Last year was the first time the festival charged for admission. General seating lawn tickets now cost $10 per day in advance, or $20 the day of the show. Kids 12 and younger get in free.

The changes have led to some grumbling.

"They should just call it Clearwater Music Holiday if they're not going to bring back the jazz," said Kathy Dalpiaz of Belleair Beach, who has attended the festival for 22 years. "And it used to be free. We would come two or three times a weekend. This year, tonight's the only night we're coming."

"Then again," said her husband Nick, "where else can you go see Chicago for 10 bucks?"

Organizers say selling tickets allows them to book better headliners.

"We had very little negative feedback" about the decision, said Bob Childress, president of the Clearwater Jazz Holiday Foundation. "Most were asking us why we waited so long."

Tonight's lineup is loaded with jazz bands. Saturday brings some funk, including headliner Tower of Power. Sunday features Americana sounds, including alt-country singer Brandi Carlile.

Mike Brassfield can be reached at or (727) 445-4151.

If you go

Clearwater Jazz Holiday

Tickets are $10 in advance or $20 at the gate. Buy them at or (727) 461-5200 or 1-888-695-0888.


• 4:30-6 p.m., Gumbi Ortiz and New Groove City

• 6:30-8 p.m., Jane Monheit

• 8:30-11 p.m., Paul Brown and Larry Carlton


• 2-3:15 p.m., Chris Godber

• 3:45-5 p.m., Acme Jazz Garage with Belinda Womack

• 5:30-6:45 p.m., Level 10

• 7:15-8:45 p.m., Average White Band

• 9:15-10:45 p.m., Tower of Power


• 2-3 p.m., Ruth Eckerd Hall's Clearwater Jazz Holiday Youth Jazz Band

• 3:30-4:30 p.m., Have Gun, Will Travel

• 5-6 p.m., Lake Street Dive

• 6:30-7:30 p.m., Amos Lee

• 8-9:30 p.m., Brandi Carlile

It's not all jazz, but the Clearwater Jazz Holiday still draws music lovers 10/17/13 [Last modified: Friday, October 18, 2013 12:47am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Four questions the Lightning still has to answer

    Lightning Strikes

    FORT LAUDERDALE — The Lightning made its biggest round of cuts Monday, with some of the big-named prospects heading out.

    Tampa Bay Lightning forward Steven Stamkos (91) looks on from the bench during a shift change at Lightning hockey training camp in Brandon on Monday (09/18/17). In background on right is Nikita Kucherov (86). DIRK SHADD   |   Times  

  2. Nine Florida football players, 62 felony complaints in fraud scandal


    GAINESVILLE — The fraud scandal that has engulfed the University of Florida's nationally ranked football team for weeks exploded Monday with the first detailed accounts of criminal accusations that threaten to derail the Gators' season.

    Florida Gators wide receiver Antonio Callaway (81) runs the ball during the Outback Bowl in January at Raymond James Stadium. [CHARLIE KAIJO   |   Times]
  3. Where Rays shortstop Matt Duffy's lost season leads

    The Heater

    BRADENTON — In a perfect world Matt Duffy would have been in New York on Monday with his Rays teammates enjoying the final off day of the year. Instead, he was on Field 4 at Pirate City on a sweltering afternoon, trying to restart his season.

    Rays shortstop Matt Duffy plays in his first game (since rehab was aborted) with the club's instructional league on Monday at the Pirate City baseball field and spring training complex in Bradenton [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  Times]
  4. Vinny Lecavalier's jersey retirement will be another classic Vinny moment

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — He was the face of the franchise. He was taken first overall in the 1998 NHL Draft by a franchise at the bottom. Art Williams, the nutty Tampa Bay Lightning owner at the time, proclaimed the 18-year-old from Ile Bizard, a Montreal borough, "the Michael Jordan of hockey."

    Vincent Lecavalier makes a break for the net while playing an exhibition game on Sunday (9/24/17) with the 2017 U.S. Women???‚??„?s National Team at Amalie Arena in Tampa. Lecavalier was the captain of the Tampa Bay Lightning for the 2000???‚??€œ2001 season and between the 2008???‚??€œ2013 and spent his first 14 NHL seasons with the Tampa Bay Lightning before signing with the Philadelphia Flyers.
  5. Pinellas licensing board loses support for staying independent

    Local Government

    CLEARWATER –– The Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board on Monday lost its strongest supporter for staying independent.

    State Sen. Jack Latvala, a Clearwater Republican running for governor, said Monday that he will no longer support any legislation to keep the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board independent. This photo was taken in August. [SCOTT KEELER | Tampa Bay Times]