In 1990, Sam Veal and a handful of friends held the first Springing the Blues Festival in a small pergola near the old Jacksonville Beach Flag Pavilion. The event featured six acts and lasted one day. Twenty-seven years later, Springing the Blues Festival is one of the most highly anticipated music events in Florida. Held at the beautiful beachfront Seawalk Pavilion, today Springing the Blues features three days of performances by national, regional and local blues artists and attracts more than 150,000 fans to the shores of Jacksonville Beach.
Springing the Blues is a free festival, but we also have a VIP seating area accessible for a few bucks. With VIP seating you get stage-front seats, drink service and access to private dining and beverage area (that artists patronize, too!). We have about 800 seats available. VIP passes are $20 on Friday and Sunday each and $35 on Saturday. A three-day VIP pass is also available for $60 for festival-goers who plan to jam out all weekend.
Springing the Blues has built a reputation for its laid-back vibe, feeling of inclusiveness and family-friendly atmosphere. You’ll see people of all ages, shapes, sizes, and colors – all enjoying the experience that is unique to Springing the Blues. Our food court features all kinds of eats, and of course, anything seafood! We also have a marketplace where sponsors, local businesses, artists and other vendors offer a tempting variety of goods, including art, jewelry, clothing, accessories, and the unusual and unique. We’ve also got a kids activity area for the little ones.
Performances by blues greats are the centerpiece of Springing the Blues, but over the years, Springing the Blues has expanded to include more activities. “Outerfest” activities keep the good times rollin’ before and after the artists take the stage. This year’s “Outerfest” activities include:
“After Fest” After Party — Grab a drink and keep jamming into the night at the after party held at Mojo Kitchen and Blues Bar (1500 Beach Blvd.). You’re in for a treat when festival artists gather for a one-of-a-kind improv jam session on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights after the festival. Admission is $5 at the door.
Surfing the Blues — Watch the best local and regional surfers compete at the Jacksonville Beach Pier. We’ll share more information about the contest — including registration fees and deadlines as well as prizes — as soon as we have it!
Performance Running the Blues 5K run/2.5K Walk — Runners and walkers should mark their calendars for Saturday, April 8. This event starts on the beach in front of the Red Cross Live Saving Station, just a couple blocks from the Seawalk Pavilion. The morning start time is determined around the high tide time. Please revisit this site for information about registration applications, fees and deadline.
Attendance at Springing the Blues has grown steadily since the festival’s debut in 1991. Approximately 7,000 attended the first one-day event, and in 1993 when a second full day of music was added, attendance exploded to 20,000. Support and enthusiastic fans were the drivers for adding a third day of music in 2002 when attendance reached 100,000. This year, event promoters expect about 125,000 – 150,000 fans over the course of three days.