Coming of Age: Summer Fest Turns 25

We’ve planned a very special Fest to celebrate our 25th anniversary—one that pays tribute to our past, looks forward to the next 25 years… and is one heck of a good time.

A World Class Stage

We’ve found a new home for some of our biggest jazz artists and other high-profile projects—the gorgeous California Theatre, recently restored to its 1920s glory. KCSM Jazz 91.1 will stream live from this stage. This stage replaces the San Jose Rep stage.

Motéma Records Showcase

Motéma Records started in Menlo Park and has gone on to discover and shepherd artists like Geri Allen and Gregory Porter. We celebrate the label’s vision on Sunday, August 10 with a special showcase at the Café Stritch Stage, featuring Jana Herzen with Charnett Moffett, Pedrito Martinez and the Marc Cary Focus Trio.

Stones Throw Records Showcase

Before he created his label in LA, Stones Throw creator and DJ Peanut Butter Wolf grew up in San Jose. Stones Throw has recorded such hot acts as Aloe Blacc, Mayer Hawthorne and the late J Dilla. The label comes home as part of our Saturday evening Jazz Beyond block party on Post Street, featuring Knxwledge, Karriem Riggins and J. Rocc.

The Rick & Russ Show

This year, the party doesn’t stop, as we bring the “Rick & Russ Show” featuring DJ RickDJ Big Russ and CJ Flash to the Kaiser Permanente Main Stage. Between sets on Saturday and Sunday, this three-man show will entertain you with their repartee and the best funk, soul, and R&B of the ‘60s and ‘70s.

SJZ Speakeasy

Introducing a comfortable, shaded area near our Kaiser Permanente Main Stage that will serve specialty cocktails, including drinks made with Tito’s Handmade Vodka.

Film Screenings

New this year are screenings at Camera 12, right on the Fest grounds. Learn more about Stones Throw Records from Our Vinyl Weighs a Ton or immerse yourself in Take Me to the River, a documentary that celebrates the inter-generational and inter-racial musical influences of Memphis. See listings under “Special Events” for times and info.

Next Gen Stage and The Family Fun Zone

We’ve brought our youth performances front and center by placing them at the south end of Plaza de César Chavez. We’re surrounding the Next Gen Stage with special activities for youth and families including mask making, mural painting and games.

Commemorative Book

For our 25th festival season, we’ve released a limited-edition volume highlighting the Fest’s past, present, and future. Former Mercury News staffer Charlie McCollum is editor, and longtime festival photographers Andy Nozaka and Walter Wagner provide historic, rarely seen images. Books are $10; available online and onsite at the PayPal Jazz Store.