Image courtesy of Ed Steele Photography

Jazz it up April 28-30 by attending the annual Denton Arts & Jazz Festival.  Great music, good food, beautiful art and many activities are planned for the whole family in Denton, Texas, where FUN IS THE THING and JAZZ IS KING! Denton’s Quakertown Park, on 32 acres in the heart of downtown, provides the perfect setting for the 2 ½ day event that is FREE to the public. The Denton Festival Foundation, Inc., in cooperation with the City of Denton and American Federation of Musicians, the Music Performance Trust Fund, produces the festival with support from individual and corporate sponsorships.

More than 3,000 musicians, artists and performers attract over 225,000 annually to enjoy the culturally diverse music and art.

Move to the beat at one of 7 stages with jazz, blues and cross-cultural music.  Get in the groove and buy a special piece of art from 175 juried artists and crafters.  The 12 and under set can mold, draw, sculpt and create at the Children’s Art Tent and make music in the Percussion Tent.

Treat yourself to delicious offerings at one of 7 food courts and don’t miss the games and activities for the young and young at heart.  Get inspired with festival rhythms around every corner. Come and visit the music capital of North Texas. Join in the pride and celebration of our music and arts tradition, all showcased for a weekend of enjoyment for the whole family.

See the highlights from the 2016 festival:

Where to Eat-

Where to Stay

what to do

Denton Arts & Jazz Festival


Friday, April 28, 5 p.m.-11 p.m.
Saturday, April 2, 10 a.m.-11 p.m.
Sunday, April 30, 11 a.m.-9 p.m.


Denton’s Quakertown Park and Facilities
321 East McKinney (Corner of McKinney and Bell)
Denton, Texas 76201

Facility Description and Capacity:

6 Outdoor Stages (5,000 seating capacity each)
1 Indoor Stage (150-200 seating capacity)
Roving Musicians (50-100 standing)
Park & facilities are Accessible to Disabled

Exhibit Space Availability and Description:

Park facilities: 17,000 square feet (Civic Center and Senior Center)
Park grounds: 20 acres
Booth space: 10 x 10 square feet (indoor/outdoor space)

Jazz Fest Map.jpg


Download map here: Downtown Public Parking


Jack DeJohnette, Ravi Coltrane & Matt Garrison
Friday, April 28
9 pm – Jazz Stage

In a career that spans five decades and includes collaborations with some of the most iconic figures in modern jazz, NEA and Grammy winner Jack DeJohnette has established an unchallenged reputation as one of the greatest drummers in the history of the genre. He is one of the most consistently inventive jazz percussionists in history, having emerged in the 1960’s playing with John Coltrane, Charles Lloyd, Thelonius Monk, Keith Jarrett and many others. Considered one of the most influential jazz drummers of the 20th Century, DeJohnette incorporates elements of jazz, free jazz, world music and R & B, making him one of the most highly regarded and in-demand drummers.

The son of saxophonists John Coltrane and jazz pianist Alice Coltrane, Ravi Coltrane is a tenor and soprano saxophonist, band leader and composer. He has fronted a variety of jazz line-ups, recorded critically-hailed albums as a leader and produced recordings by other artists, including his mother, and founded an independent record label. He is named after Indian sitar legend Ravi Shankar.

The godson of Jack DeJohnette, Matthew Garrison has been called “an electric bass virtuoso” and is considered one of the most technically gifted jazz musicians of his generation. The son of John Coltrane’s bassist Jimmy Garrison, he began to play professionally in 1994 and has performed with the likes of Joe Zawinul, Herbie Hancock, Tito Puente, John McLaughlin and toured with Whitney Houston on her Nothing But Love tour in 2010.

Aaron Neville
Saturday, April 29
9:00 pm – Jazz Stage

Although Aaron Neville is often compared to singer Sam Cooke in terms of sheer vocal refinement, he has a voice and style uniquely his own. He is well known as part of the New Orleans sound of The Neville Brothers. Musically, of course, you know Aaron as a lover, not a fighter. The strange trajectory of his recording career began in 1960 when he recorded a single with producer/writer Allen Toussaint. It didn’t seem like a good omen when the record company misspelled his name as “Arron” on the label, but it was an auspicious beginning, musically if not commercially. It wasn’t until his second single, six years later, that Neville experienced at least a fleeting taste of stardom. Tell It Like It Is became a No. 2 pop hit and No. 1 R&B smash.

Brave Combo
Sunday, April 30
7:00 pm – Jazz Stage

Winner of 2 Grammy Awards with a total of 7 nominations, Brave Combo continues to tour extensively. Trying to describe Brave Combo’s music requires a pretty extensive vocabulary – at least when it comes to musical styles. For over three decades, the Denton, Texas based quintet has perfected a world music mix that includes salsa, meringue, rock, cumbia, conjunto, polka, zydeco, classical, cha-cha, the blues and more. They are America’s Premier Dance band and a rollicking, rocking, rhythmic global journey — offering what one critic recently wrote, “Even if you come for the party, you’ll leave with something of a musical education.”

Keyboardist, guitarist, accordionist, and singer Carl Finch founded the band in 1979, releasing their first records on the band’s own Four Dots Records. Alongside Finch for most of Brave Combo’s 30+ years has been multi-instrumentalist Jeffrey Barnes, who joined in 1983. Barnes is known for his lively and imaginative stage wear, as well as playing an array of reeds and woodwinds, harmonica, pennywhistle, guitars, you name it, sometimes in multiple, simultaneous combinations. Rounding out the current line-up are trumpet player Danny O’Brien, drummer Alan Emert and Little Jack Melody on bass guitar. “Polka Down” with Brave Combo the closing night of the festival.

Friday, April 28

2:30 PM Flipside

4:00 PM Carolyn Jones

5:30 PM Eric Scortia & Vital Organ

7:00 PM Drew Phelps

9:00 PM Jack DeJohnette, Ravi Coltrane & Matt Garrison

Saturday, April 29

10:00 AM Mike Drake

11:30 AM Jose Aponte & Caribe Club

1:00 PM John Adams

2:30 PM Stefan Karlsson

4:00 PM Freddie Jones

5:30 PM Mario & Gale Cruz

7:00 PM Phyrework

7:00 PM Aaron Neville

Sunday, April 30

10:00 AM AnaLisa

11:30 AM The Blue Noters

1:00 PM Latin Katz

2:30 PM JUNT Jazz Faculty Ensemble

4:00 PM Bill Evans Tribute

5:30 PM Poo Live Crew

7:00 PM Brave Combo

Friday, April 28

3:30 PM Not So Hot Club

5:00 PM Taste of Herb

7:00 PM Annagrey

9:00 PM Texas Blues Crew

Saturday, April 29

10:30 AM Jim Riggs

12:00 PM 2Tone

1:30 PM Mr. Inez

3:00 PM Me & My Monkey

4:30 PM Tin Man

6:00 PM Ricki Derek & the Vegas Six

7:30 PM Bonnie & Nick Norris

9:30 PM Bubba Hernandez

Sunday, April 30

10:30 AM Bobby Falk

12:00 PM The Vinyl Stripes

1:30 PM Love Past Blue

3:00 PM Little Jack Melody & The Young Turks

4:30 PM Feen Boyette

6:00 PM Fingerprints

7:30 PM Jim Suhler & Monkey Beat

Friday, April 28

5:30 PM Rhythmators

7:00 PM Rivers West

Saturday, April 29

10:00 AM Jazzcats

11:00 AM Impending Bloom

12:00 PM Razzmajazz

1:00 PM Charley Lee

2:00 PM Rhythm Tribe

3:00 PM Yancey Stevens

4:00 PM Eric Bailey

5:00 PM Joe Tucker

6:30 PM Uver

8:00 PM Gypsy Playboys

Sunday, April 30

11:00 AM Beyond the Pale

12:00 PM American Bedouin

1:00 PM Lico Reyes

2:00 PM Tailgate Poets

3:00 PM Jeff Taylor

4:00 PM Linda Atwell

5:00 PM Joe Pat Hennen

6:30 PM Brian Houser

Civic Center Musicians (Saturday and Sunday)

11:00 AM Ron Fink Dixieland

2:00 PM Thad Bonduris

Friday, April 28

5:00 PM Kishiyama & Dietz Group

6:00 PM Hendry Dickoff Group

7:00 PM LS Electric Guitar Ensemble

8:00 PM Zebras Contemporary Jazz Ensemble

9:00 PM Latin Jazz Lab

Saturday, April 29

10:00 AM Paul Lees Group

11:00 AM Jaron Lopez Group

12:00 PM U-Tubes Jazz Trombone Ensemble

1:00 PM Nine O’Clock Lab Band

2:00 PM Eight O’Clock Lab Band

4:00 PM Six O’Clock Lab Band

5:00 PM Five O’Clock Lab Band

6:00 PM Four O’Clock Lab Band

7:00 PM Three O’Clock Lab Band

8:00 PM Two O’Clock Lab Band

9:00 PM One O’Clock Lab Band

Sunday, April 30

11:00 AM Jackie Yin Group

11:30 AM Carleigh Reese Group

12:00 PM Andrew Evangelista Group

12:30 PM Li Liu Group

1:00 PM West End Vocal Jazz Ensemble

1:30 PM  Third Avenue Vocal Jazz Ensemble

2:10 PM Avenue C Vocal Jazz Ensemble

3:00 PM UNT Jazz Singers

4:00 PM Super 400 Electric Guitar Ensemble

5:00 PM Mariachis Aguilas

6:00 PM UNT Steel Drum Bands

7:00 PM UNT African Percussion Ensemble

Friday, April 28

4:00 PM Just Fabulous Belly Dance

4:30 PM Calhoun Middle School Jazz Band

5:00 PM Crownover Middle School Jazz Band

5:30 PM Harpool Middle School Tiger Jazz Band

6:00 PM McMath Middle School Jazz Band

7:00 PM Cholo Rock Dance Collective

7:30 PM Bonduris Music School

8:30 PM U-JAM Fitness

9:15 PM Copper Root

10:15 PM Liberty High School Ensemblers II & I

Saturday, April 29

9:00 AM Newton Elementary Groove Squad

9:30 AM Newton Elementary Ballet Folklorico

10:00 AM Green Space Dance

11:00 AM Denton High School Fillies

11:30 AM Frisco High School Jazz Band

12:30 AM Strickland Middle School Jazz Band

1:30 PM Guyer High School Jazz Band

2:00 PM 410 Line Dance

2:30 PM Denton Dance Conservatory & City Ballet

3:30 PM Greater Dallas Youth Orchestra Jazz Institute

5:00 PM Leil Nahar Mid-Eastern Dance Troupe

5:30 PM Upswing Jazz Band

6:30 PM Lake Dallas High School Jazz Ensemble I

7:30 PM Zaara Belly Dance Fusion

8:30 PM Little Elmo and the Mambo Kings

9:30 PM Maxwell Hall Jazz Ensemble

Sunday, April 30

10:00 AM The Plano New Horizons Band

11:00 AM Ms. Rhonda’s All Stars

12:00 PM 35 Jive!

12:15 PM Denton Jazzercise

1:00 PM Cathouse Band

2:00 PM Isis and the Star Dancers

3:00 PM Pomegranate Vibrato

3:30 PM Silhouette Dance Company

4:30 PM A Time to Dance Studio

5:30 PM TWU International Dance Company

6:00 PM Denton High School Gospel & Jazz Ensembles

6:30 PM The Denton Tarantinos

7:30 PM House of Funk Theatre Company

8:15 PM TSA Denton Corps Brass Band

Friday, April 28

4:00 PM Tarrant County College SE Jazz Band

5:00 PM Nakamara

6:00 PM Ryan High School Raider Band

7:00 PM First United Methodist Church Big Band

8:00 PM Double Down Band

9:00 PM Super Lotus

10:00 PM N8 & the Rules

Saturday, April 29

9:15 AM Krum High School Jazz Band

10:00 AM Denton Community Band Jazz Ensemble

11:00 AM Creekview High School Jazz Ensemble

12:00 AM Gainesville Swing Orchestra

1:00 PM Tyler Junior College Jazz Ensemble II

2:00 PM University of Texas @ Tyler Jazz Patriots

3:00 PM Tyler Junior College Jazz Ensemble I

4:00 PM Fossil Ridge High School Jazz Band

5:00 PM Brookhaven College Big Band

6:00 PM Jett Quartet

7:00 PM Texas Sky

8:00 PM PS 150

9:00 PM Rachel Yeatts and Blue Grass Fire

10:00 PM Hippie Rednecks

Sunday, April 30

11:00 AM Fiddle Rascals

12:00 PM Prairie Grove High School Jazz Band

1:00 PM Immigrant Punk

2:00 PM Celebration Jazz Orchestra

3:00 PM Crosswinds Jazz Band

4:00 PM Josh Knight & The Vintage Experience

5:00 PM Magnum Opus Band

6:00 PM Polly Maynard & the Denton Music Collective

7:00 PM Geronimo 7

8:00 PM Bone Doggie

Friday, April 28

5:00 PM Sonlight Concert Band

6:00 PM Lee Elementary Singers Choir

6:30 PM Stephens Elementary Spotlights

7:00 PM Ryan Elementary Wrangler Choir

7:30 PM Evers Park Elementary Choir

8:00 PM Denton High School Lab Band 3

8:15 PM Denton High School Lab Band 2

8:45 PM Denton High School Lab Band 1

Saturday, April 29

9:00 AM Crownover Middle School Fiddle Club

9:30 AM Nelson Elementary Music Makers

10:00 AM Bell Elementary Choir

10:30 AM Wilson Elementary All-Star Choir

11:00 AM Borman Elementary Drums

11:30 PM Houston Elementary Singers Choir

12:00 PM Handbells at Strickland Middle School

12:30 PM Blanton Elementary Squire Choir

1:00 PM Blanton Elementary Order of the Ocarina

1:30 PM Denton Childbloom Guitar Program

2:30 PM New Horizons Band of Dallas

3:30 PM Grand Prairie Fine Arts Academy

4:30 PM Ryan High School Partner Dance

5:00 PM Providence Elementary Performers

5:30 PM Pecan Creek Elementary Bear Tones/Betty Myers Jazz Band

6:00 PM Tamba Marimba/Austin Marimba

7:00 PM Toni Garsh

Sunday, April 30

12:00 PM Denton State Supported Living Center

1:00 PM Denton Bell Band

2:00 PM Young At Heart Band

3:00 PM Denton New Horizons Band

4:00 PM Olivia Countryman

5:00 PM Richard Gilbert

6:00 PM TWU Jazz Ensemble



  • Amtrak – Take the Amtrak to Dallas’ Union Station. At Union Station, get on the DART Red Line to the West End Station. At the West End Station, take the DART Green Line towards Frankford/North Carrollton to the Trinity Mills Station. At Trinity Mills, transfer to the DCTA A-train, which will take you all the way to downtown Denton!
  • Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) and the DCTA – A-train
    • From Dallas:
      • Take DART’s Green Line to the Trinity Mills station in Carrollton
      • At the Trinity Mills station transfer to the A-train* with a simple cross-platform transfer
      • Take the A-train* to the Downtown Denton Transit Center located near the heart of Denton
      • At the Downtown Denton Transit Center, you can either take a short, 2-block walk to the park or catch bus routes 4 or 5 to the festivities!
      • *A-train does not run on Sundays
  • From Ft. Worth:
    • Take the TRE to Victory Station in Dallas
    • At Victory Station take DART’s Green Line headed to Carrollton
    • Get off the Green Line train at the Trinity Mills station
    • At the Trinity Mills station transfer to the A-train* with a simple cross-platform transfer
    • Take the A-train* to the Downtown Denton Transit Center located near the heart of Denton
    • At the Downtown Denton Transit Center, you can either take a short, 2-block walk to the park or catch bus routes 4 or 5 to the festivities!
    • *A-train does not run on Sundays

The Denton Festival Foundation, Inc. was formed in 1980 and became the entity that produced the first arts festival in Denton, Spring Fling, on April 19 and 20, 1980. Originally held at the North Texas State Fairgrounds, the annual event was moved to the Center for the Visual Arts in 1989. In 1990, Spring Fling merged with JazzFest to create the Denton Arts and Jazz Festival, which was moved to its current home, Quakertown Park (formerly Civic Center Park).

The Denton Festival Foundation, Inc. produces the event with the generous support of sponsors such as the City of Denton, the City of Denton Parks and Recreation Department, the Dallas/Fort Worth American Federation of Musicians Local 72-147 and many individual corporate and individual sponsors. It is because of these generous sponsors that the event remains free to the public.
The Foundation is overseen by a Board of Trustees, comprised of business and civic leaders from the North Texas area. These dedicated people plan and execute the event under the direction of a Festival staff of two. In addition, over 400 members participate in this process. These members, called Top Hands, aid in the planning and oversee the many Festival Foundation booths located throughout the event.

The festival showcases the visual and performing arts with a multi-discipline format. Professional musicians and artists, amateur, community and school performers all share in the spotlight. Jazz music is a big part of the event, honoring the well known Jazz Studies program at the University of North Texas and presenting many musicians who are “products” of Denton. The event attracts visitors from all over the region and has grown tremendously throughout its 32 year history. The festival has been recognized statewide, regionally and nationally as one of the finest events of its kind. This success stems from the simple fact that the festival appeals to all ages and crosses all ethnic barriers in entertainment and attendance.

Proceeds from the Denton Festival Foundation, Inc. sponsored booths benefit continuing arts facilities, preservation projects and public art. Over the past 32 years, the Foundation has contributed $102,000.00 to the Center for the Visual Arts and the Campus Theatre renovation projects. Over $37,519.77 has been donated towards improvements at Quakertown Park and smaller donations totaling $161,909.51 have been presented to organizations giving outstanding service during the festival weekend. Since 1980 the total given is $301,429.28 for our beneficiaries and the production of the event. The Festival Foundation continually strives to maintain the high quality entertainment and artistic endeavors that have become synonymous with the Denton Arts and Jazz Festival and with the city of Denton.

An important aspect of the Denton Arts and Jazz Festival is the juried art show. 10’ X 10’ Booth spaces are available both indoors and out, with artists and craftsmen representing Texas, New Mexico, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Colorado, Iowa, Maine, Arkansas, Oregon and beyond. Fine art is housed inside the Denton Civic Center while Fine Art and Crafts are located immediately outside the building. Arts and Crafts are located in the north end of the park. Here you will find clothing, metal and wood crafts, jewelry, paintings, candles, dolls and accessories and more.

There are 34 booth spaces available inside the Civic Center with approximately 60 located just outside the building.  The north park houses approximately 75 arts and crafts booth spaces.

The Denton Arts and Jazz Festival is dedicated to a mission of introducing children to the arts. The Children’s Art Tent is located in the north park and children have the opportunity to experience art in many forms. The tent features 15 different stations with volunteers instructing the children in such creative outlets as Clay and Flower Sculpture, Tan gram Art, Stamp Art, Collage, Drawing and more. This is a hands-on opportunity for young people and their parents to participate.

Next to the Children’s Art Tent is the Children’s Wood Tent, with volunteers assisting in the selection of wood and the creation of anything the imagination can hold.

Rounding out the Children’s Art Area is the Percussion Petting Zoo with Steve Gryb, the Pied Piper of Percussion. This is an intriguing and hands-on interactive exhibit featuring percussion instruments from around the world for everyone to play with and explore the sounds!

For more information on the Percussion Petting Zoo, visit their website.

Steve will also be presenting two interactive shows a day titled “The Rhythm is Going to Get You”.

Activity, Game, and Information Booths

The games, activities and information booths are always popular with attendees. Face painting, rock climbing, inflatables and a playground are all available for the young visitors. In addition, many nonprofit organizations use the opportunity to raise funds for their organization while sharing information about the services that they provide.

You will find 6 food courts at the Denton Arts & Jazz Festival. German sausagehot dogs, cotton candy, funnel cakes, corn dogs, fresh squeezed lemonaderoasted corn, ice cream, egg rolls, shish kabobs, burgers, fried onion and potato dishes, salads, baked goods, turkey legs, BBQ, popcorn, Asian, Cajun, Mexican,Greek & Italian fare and much more will certainly satisfy your festival appetite. Several different beverages such as bottled water, beer, wine, soft drinkscoffees and a variety of ice drinks will also be available.

Top Hands

Members of the Denton Festival Foundation, Inc. are called TOP HANDS. This dedicated group of people is responsible for manning the Foundation’s booths during the Festival. Annual membership dues support the year round operations of the organization. Membership is open to any interested individuals, young adults or couple with an interest in the arts and who enjoy giving service hours at the festival by performing three hour shifts at one of the various food, beverage and information booths or the Children’s Art Tent sponsored by the Festival Foundation. Dues are $15.00 per person/$30.00 per couple and a special $35.00 Corporate Membership.

Members receive the satisfaction of supporting one of the most exciting events in North Texas, in addition to the following:

  • Fun and Camaraderie during your 3 or 4 hour shift
  • Reserved parking at the Festival site
  • TOP HANDS name badge the members wear with pride
  • Discounts on Festival Souvenir T-Shirts
  • Complimentary Food and Beverage Coupons (redeemable at DFF Booths)
  • Recognition in local media
  • Two Denton Festival Foundation, Inc. newsletters
  • Access to Top Hands headquarters throughout the weekend

Brochure coming soon