One week until Chicago Jazz Festival returns August 31-September 3, Millennium Park and Chicago Cultural Center

August 24, 2023

DCASE Communications

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In the leadup to the downtown festival, enjoy free neighborhood jazz events offered this week, part of the Citywide Jazz Funding Program


CHICAGO—The countdown has begun for the City of Chicago’s beloved Labor Day weekend tradition, the Chicago Jazz Festival (August 31–September 3), produced by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) and programmed by the Jazz Institute of Chicago (JIC). Celebrating all forms of jazz in Millennium Park, at the Chicago Cultural Center, and citywide, the festival showcases Chicago's local talent alongside national and international artists to raise awareness and appreciation for one of the city’s most treasured art forms.

2023 highlights include three-time GRAMMY-winning jazz legend Ron Carter and Foursight; acclaimed American Jazz singer Dianne Reeves; prolific drummer and composer Makaya McCraven; and celebrated Cuban band Juan de Marcos and the Afro-Cuban All Stars, and many more. There will also be a special celebration as Chico Freeman plays the 100 Von Freeman Centennial tribute on Thursday, August 31 at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion. At the Chicago Cultural Center, The Natalie Scharf Quartet, Bobbi Wilsyn and more perform under the famous Tiffany dome, and the newly renovated Claudia Cassidy Theater features an exciting lineup with Francis Wong's "Legends and Legacies" presented by Asian Improv, The Fred Jackson Quartet presented by The Elastic Arts Foundation, and more. The Harris Theater Rooftop brings two nights of performances, including top Chicago high school talent with the Young Lions Jazz Showcase (Sept 2), followed by the hottest up-and-coming artists on the jazz scene with Next Gen Jazz (Sept 3) and enjoy musicians in the South Promenade Listening Lounge presented by WDCB (Sept 2 & 3).

New this year, the food and beverage options are expanding with a jazz-inspired restaurant pop-up, “Wally’s Creole Corner” offered during the Chicago Jazz Festival. Presented by Eleven North Hospitality, menu items include chicken gumbo, alligator sausage po’ boy, crawfish boil, New Orleans style beignets with powdered sugar, and Double Clutch Jazz Kolsch Brew, an exclusive beer made for the Chicago Jazz Festival, in addition to the array of concessions on-site at Millennium Hall and Casa Bonita.

This week, Chicagoans and visitors alike can enjoy free neighborhood jazz concerts leading up to the downtown festival in venues across Chicago through the Citywide Jazz Community Funding Program. With funds provided by DCASE, local venues are able present their own jazz performances free of charge. Featured offerings include Rockwell Blues and Jazz Stroll at Behind Burning Bush Brewery presented by Delmark Records (Aug 26); The Young Masters ensemble performing at Englewood Square presented by Live the Spirit Residency (Aug 28); and Ms. Denise Thimes performing at Compassion Baptist Church presented by the South Side Jazz Coalition (Aug 28), and many more. Access the full Citywide Jazz Schedule (now through Aug 29).

As in previous years, outside alcohol is not allowed at the Chicago Jazz Festival in Millennium Park, but alcohol at various price points may be purchased inside the venue. Before visiting, please be advised of other Prohibited Items at


2023 Chicago Jazz Festival Schedule

Download the Festival Schedule and Map 
Schedule subject to change

Thursday, August 31

Chicago Cultural Center
Claudia Cassidy Theater, 2nd Floor North

  • 11am-12pm - The Live the Spirit Residency Young Masters - Presented by Live the Spirit
  • 12:15-1:15pm - Asian Improv, Francis Wong's "Legends and Legacies" - Presented by Asian Improv
  • 2-3pm - The Fred Jackson Quartet - Presented by The Elastic Arts Foundation
  • 3:15-5:15pm - What is this thing called Jazz? - Presented by the Education Committee of the Jazz Institute of Chicago

Preston Bradley Hall, 3rd Floor South

  • 11am-12pm - Zubin Edalji Quintet - Presented by The Hyde Park Jazz Festival
  • 12:30-1:30pm - Zack Markstet, Performing Horace Silvers' 1966 release "The Jody Grind" - Presented by The Fulton Street Collective
  • 2-3pm - The Natalie Scharf Quartet - Presented by Illiana Club
  • 3:30-4:30pm - Bobbi Wilsyn - Presented by The South Side Jazz Coalition


Millennium Park
Enter off Randolph or Monroe only (entrances from Michigan will incur two security checks) Entrance Map
Gates open at 5pm (Event area is closed from 4-5pm)

Jay Pritzker Pavilion


Friday, September 1

Millennium Park
Any entrance to the park is a direct entrance to the event. Entrance Map
Seating bowl and Great Lawn open at 2:45pm.

Von Freeman Pavilion (North Promenade)

Jay Pritzker Pavilion
Security gates open 2 hours before the event start time. The concert perimeter (Pritzker Pavilion, Stage and Great Lawn) will be closed to the public for 1 hour before the gates open.


Saturday, September 2

Millennium Park
Any entrance to the park is a direct entrance to the event. Entrance Map
Seating bowl and Great Lawn open at 2:45pm.

Harris Theater Rooftop - Young Lions Jazz (Enter on Randolph St.)

  • 11am - Chicago High School for the Arts
  • 11:50am - Midwest Young Artists Conservatory
  • 12:40pm - Lane Tech College Prep High School
  • 1:35pm- Whitney Young High School
  • 2:25pm - New Trier High School
  • 3:15pm - Kenwood Academy High School

Von Freeman Pavilion (North Promenade)

Jay Pritzker Pavilion

  • 4:15-5:05pm - Tammy McCann
  • 5:25-6:10pm - Brandee Younger
  • 6:25-7:25pm - Nduduzo Makhathini
  • 7:45-9pm - Makaya McCraven


Sunday, September 3

Millennium Park
Any entrance to the park is a direct entrance to the event. Entrance Map
Seating bowl and Great Lawn open at 2:45pm.

Harris Theater Rooftop - Jazz: Next Gen Jazz (Enter on Randolph St.)

Von Freeman Pavilion (North Promenade)

Jay Pritzker Pavilion


The Jazz Institute of Chicago celebrates its 54th year promoting and nurturing Chicago’s world class jazz community. Founded in 1969, this not-for-profit organization works tirelessly to provide education, develop and support musicians, build audiences, and foster a thriving jazz scene in Chicago through education and public programs.

As the programming partner for the Chicago Jazz Festival since 1979, Jazz Institute of Chicago works with DCASE to help ensure audiences experience the highest quality international, national, local, and young future jazz artists.

The Chicago Jazz Festival is sponsored by 90.9fm WDCB, Chicago Transit Authority, WGN TV, Millennium Garages, Chicago Jazz Publishing, DownBeat, and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, Office of Tourism. Family programming at the Chicago Jazz Festival is supported by the Millennium Park Foundation with funding from the Lloyd A. Fry Foundation.


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Millennium Park
Discover a world-class collection of architecture, landscape design and art that provides the backdrop for hundreds of free cultural programs including concerts, exhibitions, interactive art and family activities. Enjoy a broad range of food and beverage options from Eleven North Hospitality, the new concessionaire of Millennium Park. Millennium Park is located on Michigan Avenue, bordered by Randolph St. to the north, Columbus Dr. to the east and Monroe St. to the south. The Park is open daily during the summer from 6am to 11pm. Plan your visit at; follow on Facebook (@MillenniumParkChicago), Twitter and Instagram (@Millennium_Park); and join the conversation on social media using #MillenniumPark.


Chicago Cultural Center
Drawn by its beauty and the fabulous free public events, hundreds of thousands of visitors come to the Chicago Cultural Center every year, making it one of the most visited attractions in Chicago. The stunning landmark building is home to two magnificent stained-glass domes, as well as free music, dance and theater events, films, lectures, art exhibitions, and family events. In 1991, the building was established as the Chicago Cultural Center by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs, the nation's first and most comprehensive free municipal cultural venue. Every year, the Chicago Cultural Center presents hundreds of free international, national, regional, and local artists, musicians, and performers, providing a showcase where the public can enjoy and learn about the arts.


Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events
The City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) supports artists and cultural organizations, invests in the creative economy, and expands access and participation in the arts throughout Chicago’s 77 neighborhoods. As a collaborative cultural presenter, arts funder, and advocate for creative workers, our programs and events serve Chicagoans and visitors of all ages and backgrounds, downtown and in diverse communities across our city — to strengthen and celebrate Chicago. DCASE produces some of the city’s most iconic festivals, markets, events, and exhibitions at the Chicago Cultural Center, Millennium Park, and in communities across the city — serving a local and global audience of 25 million people. The Department offers cultural grants and resources, manages public art, supports TV and film production and other creative industries, and permits special events throughout Chicago. For details, visit and stay connected via our newsletters and social media.