Amelia Island’s Fab Fall Festivals: Jazz & Art

Jazz concerts and fine art are featured in Fernandina Beach during October’s glorious weather, here at the seaside in northeast Florida.

October is a hit with local residents and visitors, ushering in what’s usually one of the most spectacular weather patterns on Amelia Island, Florida each year.

Also a hit are the jazz concerts and artwork featured in Fernandina Beach during one of the best times of the year, here at the seaside in northeast Florida.

With summer’s hottest days gone, October greets islanders with welcomed mild temps and less humidity.  While still warm enough to spend time at the beach, it’s an ideal month to be outdoors in nature, playing golf, enjoying the waterways and fishing.  Just being outdoors, in general, is a true pleasure.

Making October even more alluring, though, is not only this barrier island’s natural amenities, but the bonus of two fall festivals featuring jazz and fine art.


The 2010 Amelia Island Jazz Festival kicks off with a free community concert in the historic district of Fernandina Beach, Friday, October 1, 2010 from 6 to 8 pm at “Sounds on Centre.”

Fernandina's Centre Street, Victorian-era Courthouse
Fernandina's Centre Street, Victorian-era Courthouse

Be sure to head downtown and bring a beach chair to sit and relax while enjoying the Les DeMerle Jazz Party Band and the New Orleans-style TGIF Navy Band. Listen to great music in a wonderful setting near the Amelia riverfront.  Centre Street is closed to traffic from 2nd Street and there will be dancing in the street.  This is the last “Sounds on Centre” concert of the 2010 season and leads into the Jazz Festival’s other events.

Another free concert is “Jazz in the Park” on Sunday, October 3, 2010 from 2 to 4 pm.  Head to Amelia Park (off Citrona Avenue as well as an entrance from 14th Street), not far from Amelia Island’s  YMCA.  This concert features “Orion,” an 18-Piece US Navy Band.  Feel free to also bring a beach or lawn chair for your comfort.  (Sonny’s BBQ will offer food and drinks for sale).

There’s an exciting line up of concerts featuring a roster of talented musicians, including headliners Ramsey Lewis, the Grammy Award-winning pianist, and Steve March Tormé. Here’s a glimpse of some of the other featured artists to perform at Amelia Island’s Jazz Festival: Les DeMerle Big Band with Bonnie Eisele, Impacto Latino, Bobby Pickwood Quintet, Michael Levine & Miami Vibe, Nathan Skinner, 18-Piece US Navy Band, Midnight Blue Band, and Spare Rib Six.

More about the Amelia Island Jazz Festival

“The Festival presents world-class jazz in many styles, including swing, bebop, Dixieland, big band, Latin, and contemporary. During the week-long festival, held in October each year, music is performed by jazz greats as well as fresh, up-and-coming young talent. Performances are staged in several venues around Amelia Island, including the beautiful new state-of-the art First Baptist Church auditorium, and the charming courtyard of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church. The Amelia Island Jazz Festival helps preserve the American art form Jazz by increasing the exposure and awareness of the music genre to the general public…” from the festival’s website.

Find out more about the Amelia Island Jazz Festival at the official website, including complete Jazz Festival event schedule, ticket information, history of the jazz festival, musicians and more. Or call the Jazz Hotline (904) 504-4772.


What better way to enjoy October’s fantastic weather than browsing art along the quaint streets of Fernandina’s historic district by the Amelia riverfront?  Stroll around and explore 60 exhibits and grab a bite to eat.  The Amelia Island Autumn Fine Arts Festival show times are:  Saturday, October 9, 2010 from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.; and Sunday, October 10, 2010 from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m

The festival will feature more than 60 fine arts and crafts exhibitors.  Happening at the same time, the Historic Fernandina Beach Business Association has organized an Oktoberfest celebration, with  food and drink, including wine and beer to be served.

Note that the Amelia Island Jazz Festival’s main events featuring the headliner concerts are also being held the weekend of October 9 to 10th.

Amelia Island Art Association, Fernandina Beach, Florida
Island Art Association, Fernandina Beach, Florida

In addition, Amelia Island’s Art galleries in the historic district will be open in the evening Saturday, October 9th (5 to 8 pm) for the Second Saturday Artrageous Artwalk.  Many of the festival’s visiting guest artists will also participate in this Art Walk, making it a particularly special event to be enjoyed on a lovely October evening in Fernandina Beach.

The Amelia Island Autumn Fine Arts Festival is sponsored by the Historic Fernandina Business Association (HFBA) and the Island Art Association, Inc. (IAA), a nonprofit cooperative of local artists with a gallery located at 18 N. Second Street in Fernandina Beach (904) 261-7020 (just off Centre Street). 

So spend some time on Amelia Island in October. Just hanging around downtown to watch a sensational sunset over the Amelia riverfront is a show of its own.

Or take an evening walk on the beachfront and admire the shoreline silhouettes, framed by the glow (read article Shoreline Silhouettes).