The UCLA Jazz Reggae Festival

by Cara Batema Google
Experience jazz and reggae music at the UCLA Jazz Reggae Festival.

Experience jazz and reggae music at the UCLA Jazz Reggae Festival.

Ryan McVay/Lifesize/Getty Images

The UCLA Jazz Reggae Festival, an annual event that celebrates jazz and reggae music and culture, celebrated its 25th year over Memorial Day weekend in 2011. The festival is entirely student-produced and a one-of-a-kind event. Over the years, the festival has become more popular; while it started as a one-day event, it has transformed into a two-day series of concerts, food and crafts.


The UCLA Jazz Reggae Festival is the only event of its kind on the West Coast. Run consistently by a group of about thirty undergraduate students, it is the longest-running festival in Los Angeles and the largest student-run event in the country. It is a non-profit event, and the students work as volunteers. After its fourth year, the festival became a two-day instead of a one-day event. Originally held at the Sunset Recreation Center, the festival is now conducted at UCLA's Intramural Field.


The festival incorporates live music concerts and art vendors. The live art event was implemented in 2010; during this time, onlookers watch as live artists paint on large palettes. Food vendors are also present, but the major draw is the numerous live music acts. "Jam Day" features more jazzy performers, and reggae-style musicians take part in "Reggae Day."


The purpose of the festival is to "help build a better future." The festival contributes to the UCLA Music Outreach Program, which sends UCLA music students to public schools that have lost their music programs. The festival strives to be "green" by setting up recycling bins, reducing the amount of single-use plastic water bottles, providing water-refilling stations and using solar and gas to power the stages and vendors.

Know Before You Go

Tickets for the 2011 festival cost $29 for a single day or $50 for both days ($35 and $60 if purchased the day of the event). Parking is notorious for being limited in the UCLA area, but parking structures are available on or near campus. Public transportation lines serve the campus throughout the day. No pets, glass bottles, alcohol, umbrellas or canopies are allowed. Picnic-style seating is available at the event. Food vendors serve a variety of world cuisine, including Jamaican, Caribbean, Chinese, Creole and American.

About the Author

Cara Batema is a musician, teacher and writer who specializes in early childhood, special needs and psychology. Since 2010, Batema has been an active writer in the fields of education, parenting, science and health. She holds a bachelor's degree in music therapy and creative writing.

Photo Credits

  • Ryan McVay/Lifesize/Getty Images