HISTORY OF THE JAZZ FESTIVAL
The Scranton Jazz Festival began in 2005 at the Hanlon’s Grove Amphitheatre at Nay Aug Park, Scranton, Pa. After a major snowstorm damaged the facility in 2007, the festival’s organizers moved the event to its present home at the historic Radisson Lackawanna Station Hotel in downtown Scranton where it has become a permanent fixture on the northeastern Pa. arts and culture scene. Presented in August for a three day weekend, the festival has attracted some of the finest international, national, and regional jazz/blues and world beat artists to showcase their world class talent. Combined with an outstanding staff of artisans, technicians, administrators and volunteers, the SJF literally transforms downtown Scranton in to a vibrant three days of high quality entertainment that has attracted thousands over the years. As a result not only has the festival been a high quality musical event, but it has also had a positive effect on the Scranton region’s economy. Scranton has had a rich history in jazz dating back to the 1930’s where jazz legends, Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey, performed regularly with the famous Scranton Sirens Jazz Band. Our area is also credited with hosting the first known recorded jazz festival, “The Cavalcade of Dixieland Jazz”, in 1951. Since its premiere in 2005 the festival has drawn audiences from the entire Mid-Atlantic region, resulting in tremendous notoriety and exposure to the international jazz world. The SJF can help revive our region as a cultural epicenter, spreading the arts throughout the northeast, no different than such festivals as Newport, Rhode Island; Saratoga Springs, Florida; and Monterey, California.
The Scranton Jazz Festival simply wants to carry on this rich tradition while becoming a recognized contributor to the world of jazz/blues and world beat music in its own right. Last year, the Scranton Jazz Festival celebrated its first decade. It is the hope and desire of everyone involved that the festival will continue for decades to come. This summer The Scranton Jazz Festival will celebrate its 12th year at the historic Radisson Lackawanna Station Hotel and various downtown Scranton venues.
The historic Radisson Lackawanna Station Hotel in Downtown Scranton provides the Annual Jazz Festival with newly remodeled Hotel rooms, a covered outdoor amphi-theater, indoor facilities for the late night jazz crowd, as well as the finest food and drink. This beautiful historic building and amphi-theater provides the ideal location for a world-class event.
The Scranton Jazz Festival is proud to present its student jazz educational component. Focusing on the small jazz combo, some of the world class artists performing at the SJF will educate these selected students in the skills necessary to perform jazz, blues, and world beat music. This is the future of America’s classical music, and The Scranton Jazz Festival is proud to pass this great tradition onto the next generation. Students attend the Keystone College Jazz Institute and will be selected from Lackawanna/Luzerne County, as well as the surrounding region.