Thanks to the generosity of a friend, I was able to attend the Orange County Classic Jazz Festival this past weekend.
Now attending jazz festivals to dance is something that has been mentioned to me in the past, but I have always come up with some kind of excuse not to show up. (Also known as being too lazy to organize friends to go as a group.) I learned the hard way that I was missing out on an amazing resource. It is not often you can dance to 5+ bands in one day! Even though not all the music was ideal for dancing, moments like the Titan Hot 7 playing “Sweet Georgia Brown” simply rocked. A bonus was this Jazz festival was held indoors at a hotel, so nearly every room had a decent floor to dance on.
My advice though, if you get wind of a jazz festival is hitting an area near you.
- Find out if they take volunteers: At the OC Classic Jazz Festival for a few hours of volunteering you get normally a $90 dollar pass, for completely free!
- Spread the word and organize a crew: When I went I was lucky enough to run into random Yehoodities and other swing dancing members of the community there. Best not to leave it to chance though and bring friends you can dance with along. (Facebook event is a great resource for this)
- Do not block view of the band: The majority of attendees to these events came to enjoy the music, not to watch you dance. Be kind and please do not obstruct their view of the band.
- Don’t be afraid to take breaks: Some songs will go for 5+ minutes or the band may play things that are difficult to dance to. This is especially true if it is not a classic jazz festival and includes more modern jazz. So if you are fatigued or completely lost just take a break, sit back, and relax.
If you know of any killer Jazz festivals (like the Django Reinhardt festival in Samois, France) or have any experiences with them, feel free to comment below.