Newport Jazz Festival

The Newport Jazz Festival has become a legend in the jazz world. All the big names, including Ella Fitzgerald, Muddy Waters, and Nina Simone, have wowed the crowds gathered in the seaside town of Newport. One of the best attended—and one of the most famous—of Rhode Island events unfolds every August, bringing in established names and fresh talent for three days at the scenic end of summer.

Newport Jazz Festival History and Facts

The first Newport Rhode Island Jazz Festival, as brought about through the vision and generosity of socialite Elaine Lorillard. From the first festival in 1954 and many more following, Lorillard and her husband George provided the funds for the festival, while jazz king George impresario George Wein helped bring the music festival to the resort town.

The legends of jazz like Miles Davis and Duke Ellington have performed here, as have up-and-comers and a new generation of musicians. In 1979, the festival moved to New York, but it returned to Newport two years later, where became a festival in two cities. The New York festival lives on as the CareFusion Jazz Festival.

Tickets to the Newport Rhode Island Jazz Festival

For the Rhode Island festival, you'll have many options for tickets. If you're planning on sitting on the lawn, you'll need to get there early to secure your seat, and you can bring along a blanket or a short beach chair. A single-day pass is discounted for children ages 3 to 15, and anyone younger can enjoy the Newport Jazz Festival for free 2016.

A select number of two-day passes are available for adult visitors. Reserved seating tickets do not have a children's discount. If you're planning on parking onsite, you can purchase your tickets in advance for the Newport Rhode Island Jazz Festival.

Directions to the Newport Jazz Festival

The Newport Jazz Festival events take place at the International Tennis Hall of Fame and Fort Adams State Park, and both are located in Newport. From Boston, there are several ways to get to Rhode Island: Interstate 93 South, Interstate 495 East, Route 128, or Interstate 195. Take your chosen highway until Route 24 South. Follow this highway through Fall River. Once you cross into Rhode Island, follow exit 1 to Route 138 West. From there, take a left to Bellevue Avenue and continue a block to the Hall of Fame.

From Connecticut or New Jersey, take Interstate 95 into Rhode Island. Exit 3 is Highway 138, which crosses of bridges in Jamesport and Newport. Both the Hall of Fame and state park are easy to find once you arrive in Newport.

Lodging Near the Newport Jazz Festival Rhode Island

If you choose one of the Newport hotels near the festival grounds, chances are good you'll stay close to the water. The Hyatt Regency Newport is nestled alongside Narragansett Bay at 1 Goat Island. Despite the strange address, the hotel offers elegant accommodations and attentive service. Guests also enjoy the outdoor saltwater pool and the waterfront views from the restaurants, spas, and well-appointed guestrooms.

The Hotel Viking, at 1 Bellevue Avenue, is just a short walk away from the waterfront and the Newport Jazz Festival 2016 concerts. A member of the Historic Hotels of America, this property exudes historic charm but sports modern amenities. Besides the elegant guestrooms, the hotel is home to a restaurant and spa and it offers special jazz festival packages.

Image: leewrightonflickr (flickr)

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