Aug. 29 – Sept. 1, 2024
Free admission • Millennium Park

The oldest of Chicago’s free lakefront music festivals boasts an incredibly diverse lineup, which includes free neighborhood concerts leading up to the main show at Millennium Park and additional programming throughout the city over Labor Day weekend.

Chicago Jazz Festival has been part of the city’s free summer music festival lineup for more than 40 years. The range of artists comprising the Chicago Jazz Festival lineup runs the gamut from jazz legends to influential modern masters and crucial new voices in the genre’s continuing evolution.

Chicago Jazz Festival lineup

Explore the 2023 Chicago Jazz Festival lineup, which featured everything from up-and-coming artists to established stars at Millennium Park and the Chicago Cultural Center. Check back for the 2024 lineup!

Chicago Cultural Center

  • The Live the Spirit Residency Young Masters, Presented by Live the Spirit
  • Asian Improv, Francis Wong’s “Legends and Legacies,” Presented by Asian Improv
  • Fred Jackson’s Erudition Project, Presented by The Elastic Arts Foundation
  • What is this thing called Jazz? Presented by the Education Committee of the Jazz Institute of Chicago

Preston Bradley Hall

  • Zubin Edalji’s Four Windows, Presented by The Hyde Park Jazz Society
  • Zack Markstet, Performing Horace Silvers’ 1966 release “The Jody Grind,” Presented by The Fulton Street Collective
  • The Natalie Scharf Quartet, Presented by Illiana Club
  • Bobbi Wilson, Presented by The South Side Jazz Coalition

Millennium Park

  • Chico Freeman 100
  • Ron Carter and Foursight

Millennium Park

  • Eric Hochberg String Thing
  • Alexis Lombre Quartet
  • Anthony Bruno Quartet

Jay Pritzker Pavilion

  • Juan Pastor Chinchano
  • Walter Smith III Quartet
  • Ari Brown Quintet
  • Dianne Reeves

Harris Theater Rooftop – Young Lions Jazz

  • Chicago High School for the Arts
  • Midwest Young Artists Conservatory
  • Lane Tech College Prep High School
  • Whitney Young High School
  • Kenwood Academy High School

Millennium Park
Von Freeman Pavilion (North Promenade)

  • Alvin Cobb Jr.
  • Devon Sandridge
  • Theodis Rodgers Organ Trio
  • Carmen Stokes

Jay Pritzker Pavilion

  • Tammy McCann
  • Brandee Younger
  • Nduduzo Makhathini
  • Makaya McCraven

Harris Theater Rooftop Jazz – Next Gen Jazz

  • Saucedo Alumni Latin Jazz Collective
  • Urban Horizons
  • Charlie Reichert Powell & New River
  • Neon Wilderness
  • Mxmrys

Millennium Park
Von Freeman Pavilion (North Promenade)

  • Herbsaint
  • Tim Fitzgerald Wes Montgomery Project
  • Christian Dillingham Quartet
  • Petra’s Recession Seven

Jay Pritzker Pavilion

  • The Pharez Whitted Quintet
  • Chicago Soul Jazz Collective w/ Dee Alexander
  • Billy Valentine
  • Juan de Marcos and the Afro-Cuban All Stars

History of Chicago Jazz Festival

The great composer/bandleader Duke Ellington died in the summer of 1974. Just a few weeks later, several dozen Chicago musicians held a festival to honor him, at the old bandshell at the south end of Grant Park. Ten thousand music lovers came, marking the first of what would become annual concerts that drew crowds of up to 30,000.

Then in 1978, musicians working with Chicago’s Council of Fine Arts held the first John Coltrane Memorial Concert in Grant Park, another popular success.

The next year the Jazz Institute of Chicago began planning its own August festival. That meant that three different groups of jazz people were working to present concerts at the end of August.

The Mayor’s Office of Special Events proposed the solution: Get together to create the first Chicago Jazz Festival. It had an Ellington night, a Coltrane night, and five other programs organized by the Jazz Institute and it was held at the new Petrillo Music Shell. And 125,000 people came to listen, dance, picnic on the grass, and enjoy the birth of what was to become the most extensive free jazz festival in the world.

Today, the Chicago Jazz Festival is held annually on the weekend before Labor Day. The Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events produces it and the Jazz Institute of Chicago programs it.

Jazzfest Chicago

Chicago Jazz Festival FAQs

Where is the Chicago Jazz Festival?
The Chicago Jazz Festival is held at lakefront Millennium Park. There will also be performances that take place at the Chicago Cultural Center and the Harris Theatre Rooftop.

Is Chicago Jazz Festival free?
The Chicago Jazz Festival is free and open to the public. All performances at Millennium Park are free to attend throughout the weekend, along with and additional programming across the city over Labor Day weekend.

What is Chicago-style jazz?
During the Great Migration, African Americans flocked to Chicago from the South, bringing age-old jazz and blues traditions with them. The genre became popular in small clubs on the city’s south side — soon Chicago was attracting legendary musicians like King Oliver, Jelly Roll Morton, and Louis Armstrong.

Over time, the city’s musicians developed their own distinct twist on the genre. Chicago-style jazz is a combo of Mississippi Delta and New Orleans “Dixieland” style, but with heavy bass and guitar, longer solos, and fast tempos. Learn more about Chicago’s iconic jazz scene.

What accessibility amenities are available at Millennium Park concerts?
Every aspect of Millennium Park has been designed to be accessible and inclusive to all patrons. That includes:

  • American Sign Language Interpretation is provided for all concerts on the Jay Pritzker Pavilion stage.
  • Assistive listening devices and wheelchairs are available at all Millennium Park events from the Patron Service Tent
  • Accessible seating (with companion seats) is available throughout the Jay Pritzker Pavilion seating bowl

Learn more about accessibility in Millennium Park.

Can I bring a folding chair and blanket into the Chicago Jazz Festival?
Yes, chairs and blankets are welcome on the Great Lawn. Folding chairs are not allowed in the seating area of the Jay Pritzker Pavilion.

Tents, oversized umbrellas, oversized blankets or plastic tarps, helium balloons, oversized flags, signs/banners, barbecue grills, open flame candles, or staking of any kind are not allowed on the Great Lawn area.

May I bring a picnic basket?
Yes! Millennium Park is the perfect place for a picnic and a night of music and dining al fresco. As in previous years, outside alcohol is not allowed for the Chicago Jazz Festival in Millennium Park, but alcohol at various price points may be purchased inside the venue.

May I buy food in the park?
Refreshments, including food, beer and wine, are available for purchase from the concessions tent located to the east of the Jay Pritzker Pavilion. In addition, concessions can be purchased throughout the Park, including from Millennium Hall, a multi-restaurant concept that includes Napolita Pizzeria, Double Clutch Brewing Company, and Casa Bonita.

Alcohol may only be consumed in the seating area and the Great Lawn during the concerts. Alcohol sales in the Millennium Park concession tent end one half-hour prior to the end of the concert.

What is the rain policy?
Concerts and performances in the Jay Pritzker Pavilion are held rain or shine, unless there are severe weather warnings and/or the threat of lightning in the area. The Pavilion seats are not protected from the elements. The Great Lawn has a high-tech design with underlying layers of sand and gravel that allows water to drain quickly.

Are recording devices allowed during a concert?
Photography, video, or recording devices are prohibited at all concerts at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion.

May I bring my dog along?
Animals are not permitted in Millennium Park, unless they are service animals.

For additional questions regarding Millennium Park, visit

Please note: Schedule is subject to change. For the latest on all Millennium Park events, visit