While our physical offices are closed until further notice in accordance with Austin's COVID-19 "stay home-work safe" order, the Handbook of Texas will remain available at no-cost for you, your fellow history enthusiasts, and all Texas students currently mandated to study from home. If you have the capacity to help us maintain our online Texas history resources during these uncertain times, please consider making a 100% tax-deductible contribution today. Thank you for your support of TSHA and Texas history. Donate Today »


Kelli Tinervin

TEXAS JAZZ FESTIVAL. The Texas Jazz Festival is hosted annually in Corpus Christi, Texas, by the Texas Jazz Festival Society. The goals of the Texas Jazz Festival Society are to present and perpetuate the live performance of jazz, showcase both regional and local talent, encourage and assist in educating young jazz artists, and to promote tourism in Corpus Christi. The Texas Jazz Festival charges no admittance fee in order to ensure that anyone can attend and enjoy the best of American jazz. Advertised as the “longest established and continuously operated free music festival in the country,” the event is funded through membership fees, corporate sponsors, and benefit concerts, and planned and organized entirely by Texas Jazz Festival Society members and volunteers.

The idea for a jazz festival first came about when members of the Jazz Club at Del Mar College organized a concert at the Student Union Building in late 1959. The success of that gathering spawned another concert three months later that inspired Del Mar jazz enthusiasts to persuade the institution to consider holding another larger concert. The first Texas Jazz Festival took place in May 1960 at the Del Mar College Auditorium. It was held in association with Buccaneer Days and hosted jazz groups from Houston and San Antonio. During the second year, the Corpus Christi Chamber of Commerce became involved in planning and promoting the festival. Local and Houston jazz musicians played at the second festival, held by the marina on the Peoples Street T-Head. Eventually the festival had to be moved to a larger venue due to traffic problems. Throughout the years, great jazz musicians such as Arnett Cobb, Al Hirt, Stan Kenton, Spyro Gyra, Wanda Gregory, Ramsey Lewis, Zoot Sims, Mary Lou Williams, and Al Jarreau have attended as performers.

The festival underwent a few changes beginning in 1999. Since that time it has been hosted in Heritage Park on three stages situated among trees and historic homes. Some fifty jazz groups, including high school and college bands, perform annually at the three-day event in October. The majority of the performers are from Texas, but groups come from throughout the United States. In addition to musical acts, the festival also features food and arts and crafts vendors. The festival celebrated its fiftieth anniversary in 2010.


Texas Jazz Festival (http://www.texasjazz-fest.org/), accessed August 27, 2015.

Image Use Disclaimer

All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.

For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, Kelli Tinervin, "TEXAS JAZZ FESTIVAL," accessed August 04, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/xft03.

Uploaded on April 27, 2015. Modified on August 27, 2015. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
visit the mytsha forums to participate

View these posts and more when you register your free MyTSHA account.

Call for Papers: Texas Center for Working-Class Studies Events, Symposia, and Workshops
Hi all! You may be interested in this call for papers I received from the Texas Center for Working-Class Studies at Collin College...

Katy Jennings' Ride Scholarly Research Request
I'm doing research on Catherine Jennings Lockwood, specifically the incident known as "Katy Jennings' Ride." Her father was Gordon C. Jennings, the oldest man to die at the Alamo...

Texas Constitution of 1836 Co-Author- Elisha Pease? Ask a Historian
The TSHA profile of Elisha Marshall Pease states that he wrote part of the Texas Constitution although he was only a 24 year-old assistant secretary (not elected). I cannot find any other mention of this authorship work by Pease in other credible research about the credited Constution authors...