Once a year, downtown Chandler, Arizona, comes alive with the sounds of the Chandler Jazz Festival. Bringing together jazz artists from around the country, this festival is popular with families and serious music lovers alike. In addition to the more than 15 hours of performances scheduled, guests will have access to kid-friendly activities, food, and a variety of vendors selling locally made artisan wares.
The Chandler Jazz Festival takes place in Dr. A.J. Chandler Park in downtown Chandler. The easiest way to get in, particularly if you’re in an RV, is to hop on Highway 202 and connect to Highway 87, which runs right past the park.
The 2020 Chandler Jazz Festival boasts a range of well-known names in the jazz world. On Friday, April 3, you'll see the Sugar Thieves, who put their signature stamp on classic jazz vocals. Stick around for the blues-infused Tommy Grills Band, and check out Native American blues and funk with the Sir Harrison Band. Rounding out the night is Carvin Jones, who wows the crowd with his guitar skills. Don’t feel like sitting in one place? From 9:00 p.m. to midnight, you can check out the merchant bands throughout the festival.
On Saturday, April 4, the Main Stage comes alive with the joyful and funky sounds of the Mike Ozuna Band. Hold on to your spot — you’ll want to stay near the stage to hear Dmitri Matheny and Holly Pyle as they break out some smooth flugelhorn jazz and vocals. In fact, Matheny is one of the most famous flugelhorn players in the country. Roxy Coss comes next; with her incredible saxophone talent, she’s a delight for kids and adults alike. Bring your dancing shoes because the Josiel Perez's MambAZ Orchestra is sure to get the crowd dancing. If you want to come downtown early, you can catch the festival’s sidewalk bands from 2:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. while you browse local shops or enjoy a meal at one of the downtown restaurants.
If you’re serious about jazz, you won’t want to miss one of the most intimate and exciting events of the festival — the after-hours jam session. Located at West Alley BBQ, this session gives you the chance to see the festival’s performers in a more relaxed setting. Listen to the musicians improvise new passages while you enjoy a cocktail or a bite to eat — you might even get the chance to hang out with your favorite musician after they jam.
While the music is going on, the festival has plenty more to offer. Head over to the beer and wine garden between 5:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. to quench your thirst. Hungry? Don’t miss the wide range of food vendors. If you need a walk, stroll through the festival’s shopping area to pick up a souvenir or find a great work of art for your home. You’ll also find a range of kid-friendly games and activities to keep everyone in the family happy.
The Chandler Jazz Festival doesn’t have special RV accommodations. However, you’ll find plenty of RV-friendly places to stay nearby. It’s important to make reservations as soon as possible — this part of Arizona is popular with winter RVers, so great spots fill up fast. Don't own a recreational vehicle? Consider an RV rental from RVshare to take your trip to the next level.
Near the festival, you’ll find a few small RV parks. Less than a mile to the east, the Five Star RV Park offers some peaceful spots. A little farther down the road, the 55+ Hacienda Solano Mobile Home and RV Resort offers full hookups, a swimming pool, and large sites for big rigs. About 15 minutes west, the MotorCoach Resort is a great option for families. With its fast Wi-Fi, hot showers, and gathering area, this spot has something for everyone. If you drive a couple of miles north, you’ll find an assortment of small RV parks north of the Superstition Freeway.
Are you hoping to turn your trip to the Chandler Jazz Festival into a bigger vacation? Consider staying in one of the gorgeous parks a bit farther out. At Estrella Mountain Regional Park, Lost Dutchman State Park, and Usery Mountain Regional Park, you’ll find a huge range of desert activities. Lace up your hiking boots and head into the mountains, ride horses, or bring bikes to explore the trails. Each spot offers bathrooms and a range of other kid-friendly amenities, making them a great choice for families. Depending on traffic, it usually takes less than an hour to reach the festival from each of these parks.
If you’re hoping to walk to and from the Chandler Jazz Festival, you'll like the Crowne Plaza Hotel. It’s right across North Arizona Avenue, so you can be out the door and listening to music in less than five minutes. About a mile north, there's the Chandler Inn and the Best Western Inn of Chandler. If you drive 10 minutes west to the intersection of Highway 101 and Highway 202, you’ll find a large group of highly rated hotels.
Getting to the Chandler Jazz Festival is easy; if you’re coming from the north or south, take Interstate 10 to Highway 202 east. You'll then get off on Highway 87; the festival is located just over a mile north.
The Chandler Jazz Festival takes place right in the center of Chandler, which means that parking can be a challenge. It’s a good idea to leave your RV behind and drive in with a car. Alternatively, you might consider parking in one of the big-box store lots near Highway 202 and taking a ride-share up to the park. If you’re bringing a car with you, you’ll find street parking on the blocks around the festival. When they fill up, head to Chandler’s free public parking garages; these are located at Oregon Street, Overstreet, City Hall, Ports America, and First Credit Union. From there, you can walk to the festival or take the free Wave e-cab shuttle that runs regularly from the parking garages to the downtown area where the music festival takes place.
The Chandler Jazz Festival is completely free, so you don’t need to worry about getting tickets ahead of time. The area around the Main Stage can fill up quickly, however, so it’s a good idea to arrive early. At 4:30 p.m., the Stage Plaza Gates open up to attendees. Be sure to bring a blanket or lawn chair and claim your spot in the grass.
Are you heading to the 2020 Chandler Jazz Festival? Be sure to bring your camera; RVshare would love to see your pictures. Share them with the team by email at [email protected] RVshare will post its favorites on its social media channels and blog.
Stay up to date on the latest news from the festival via @ChandlerJazzFestival on Facebook.