Although it originated in the United States, jazz is now truly a world music. Citizens from a variety of cultural and ethnic backgrounds have contributed to the development of this diverse, variegated musical art. In Puerto Rico, citizens and tourists have the option to experience jazz in a variety of settings and events, ranging from sponsored music concerts to religious celebrations.
The Heineken JazzFest offers local and international musicians the chance to collaborate and display their skills. Established in 1991, the Heineken JazzFest promotes jazz through educational programs and performance opportunities for Puerto Rican youth. The festival takes place for four days in the month of June and hosts multiple performing groups each evening. The public can purchase tickets through the official website of the festival, www.prheinekenjazz.com.
Ventana al Jazz
Also sponsored by Heineken, the "Ventana al Jazz", or "window to jazz", concert series occurs on the last Sunday of every month. The concerts take place in Candado, a colonial district of San Juan. The programs are free to the public. Audience members are encouraged to bring snacks and other amenities to the festival.
Ponce is the second largest city on the island of Puerto Rico. Although not specifically a jazz festival, the Ponce Carnival features a variety of musicians and performing artists. The festival's schedule coincides with the Mardi Gras celebration in New Orleans and features a week of celebration and revelry. The festival includes multiple parades, accompanied by street performers and impromptu music ensembles performing in many genres.
Patron Saint Festivals
In each of the 78 municipalities of Puerto Rico, citizens honor and celebrate their patron saint for a period of 10 days annually. Depending on the location, these festivals occur at varying dates throughout the calendar year. The religious element of the festival is accompanied by music ensembles, small carnivals and food. Although not specifically a jazz festival, these celebrations draw out a large number of Puerto Rico's jazz musicians due to the large numbers of citizens and tourists who visit these occasions.
- Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images