Family Friendly Options at Summer Fest

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San Jose Jazz Summer Fest is San Jose’s seminal event of the summer, so come enjoy our weekend-long programming with the whole family. Need some ideas of where to start your planning? Let us guide you through a few spots not to be missed!

Choice Stages

While most of our stages are family friendly, we particularly recommend our many outdoor stages. Our Main Stage is a great space to enjoy the great summer weather on a blanket among family and friends! With plenty of food and drink vendors as well as arts and crafts booths nearby – not to mention the great sounds of artists like Dianne Reeves and Boney James – the Main Stage is the center of Summer Fest activities. No amenities are too far away!

Other great options include the Kaiser Permanente Salsa Stage, where you’re sure to spot plenty of dancers moving to great Latin rhythms throughout the day.  The Castellano Latin stage is a low-key alternative, featuring a wonderful line-up consisting solely of women-fronted Latin Jazz bands. Additionally, the Metro Market Stage, located inside San Pedro Square Market, with its adjoining patio and variety of artisanal food options, is a great one-stop option.

Next Gen @ The Tech

The Tech Museum is the site of Summer Fest’s Next Gen Stage, taking place in the Lower Atrium. Watch some of the best and brightest young Bay Area talents – and take a detour between sets to learn about the fascinating nuances of sound! Groups scheduled to perform include Natalie Cressman & Secret GardenMonterey Jazz Festival High School All-Stars Big Band and San Jose Jazz High School All Stars. The Next Gen stage runs from noon until 6pm Saturday Aug 11 and Sunday Aug 12.

Music education and performance are two key pillars to San Jose Jazz’s mission. Come see this intersection at the Tech Museum, whether through talented young performers or the cutting edge, active learning exhibits on display, free of charge, to festival attendees!

Free Entrance to the Tech Museum

One of the best destinations for families will be the Tech Museum of Innovation, offering free admission with your festival wristband all weekend! Be sure to take part in the musical scavenger hunt, covering six exhibits with a focus on sound.

On the Lower Level, step inside the “Gold Tube,” an art-deco inspired golden cylinder that showcases the reflective, directional properties of sound through echoes. Upstairs in the Virtual Test Zone, you will find “Math Makes Musical Moods,” which adds a visual touch to teaching harmony and dissonance. Push the buttons on the wall to or choose from pre-programmed picks like “When the Saints Go Marching In” if you want to see it in action before creating your own.

One of the scavenger hunt’s highlights is “the Reactable,” a table top “collaborative electronic instrument” that utilizes an overhead camera to trigger instruments based on pictures on the exhibit’s many cubes. Attach multiple blocks together to create your own virtual band! The table top is projected on a wall nearby, allowing other guests to watch your creation at work.

“Mmm Tss” and “Sound Circles” similarly use the visual to highlight sound at play. “Mmm Tss” is a real time recording exhibition that allows users to layer vocals. On screen, they appear like rings of a tree. “Sound Circles” uses touch-screen technology to explain pitch. Each touch creates a new circle, and when these circles collide, each create a sound related to their size. It’s a simple but visually stunning display.

Lastly, experience waves as more than just sound at “Make a Quake.” A shake table lets users manipulate shake simulations by adjusting amplitude and frequency. For a fully interactive experience, take a ride on the shake platform, which simulates 8 different earthquake scenarios. Also be sure to pop into the Tech’s special Maker Faire exhibit, which includes 20 curated projects from Maker Faire® Bay Area 2012. A true celebration of DIY culture, experience these projects before their run ends August 17. Learn more about the Tech at

With plenty of options for music fans of all ages, San Jose Jazz Summer Fest is an event the whole family can enjoy! Come celebrate the South Bay’s rich diversity and active community. You might even learn something along the way!

Do you plan on enjoying Summer Fest with your family? Share your festival plans leaving a comment on our wall on Facebook!