Sioux Falls Jazz and Blues Festival
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The Sioux Falls Jazz and Blues Festival (more commonly JazzFest) is an annual three-day outdoor musical event, featuring two stages and is free to the public. It is one of the largest free music festivals in its region and is held annually at Yankton Trail Park in Sioux Falls, South Dakota during the third weekend in July.
JazzFest features a wide variety of music every year including jazz, blues, zydeco, Latin, reggae, big band, rock, soul and funk. JazzFest features a main stage, second stage for local talent, the Sanford Children's JazzQuest Area, a poetry tent, various food and beverage vendors and many craft and non-food booths. Record attendance was recorded in 2005 when nearly 110,000 people attended. Past JazzFests have featured acts such as Los Lobos, the Neville Brothers, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Bo Diddley, Medeski Martin and Wood, and Mavis Staples, as well as countless local artists.
The event is free to the public thanks to sponsorships from many local and regional companies, hundreds of volunteers from the community and the sale of food and beverages at the event. The Sioux Falls Jazz & Blues Society, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, raises money through the sale of beverages at the festival. It is the mission of the Sioux Falls to increase the awareness of jazz and blues music in the Sioux Falls and Midwest region, through musical events and education.
The first festival was held in 1988 at Pennmarch Place. Events were later held at the Sioux Falls Zoo and Sioux Falls Canary Stadium. In 1996, JazzFest was held at Yankton Trail Park, which has since become its permanent home. Various improvements to the park have been made in the areas of power, water and telephone. All improvements were donated back to the City of Sioux Falls on behalf of the Sioux Falls Jazz and Blues Society.
According to the JazzFest website, "The American Bus Association, representative of the motor coach, tour, and travel industry, has bestowed upon the Sioux Falls Jazz and Blues Society's annual JazzFest the designation of a Top 100 Event in North America".