Atlanta is rapidly becoming a city of young professionals, especially those who live in Midtown, Virginia-Highland, Inman Park and the west side, and, as such, the Atlanta Jazz Festival is changing in recognition of that.

This is how Camille Russell Love, executive director of the Atlanta Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs, explained the new, younger music groups who will perform at the 42nd annual event, scheduled May 25 and 26 at Piedmont Park in Midtown.

“This will be a festival featuring young jazz musicians, as we hope to help educate people to what real jazz music is,” said Love, whose office is hosting the event. “We are hoping these younger people will become jazz aficionados and see jazz music as it really is today.”

Although the festival, which goes from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. each day, is the main event, the city is hosting 31 Days of Jazz events throughout May as part of the festival.

“Although we expect 50,000 people each day of the festival at Piedmont Park, we expect another 50,000 to celebrate at jazz events in the city throughout the month,” Love said.

The newest element at the festival is the Vodka & Vegan Lounge, where attendees 21 and over can enjoy vodka-infused cocktails or nonalcoholic soft drinks and vegan meals. Tickets are $100 for a one-day pass and $175 for a two-day pass and can be purchased by visiting http://bit.ly/2QevXVf.

According to a news release, the festival remains the largest free jazz festival in the country. It is known for discovering talented up-and-coming jazz artists, as well as making the work of jazz legends accessible to residents of and visitors to the city.

Devin Young of Brookhaven said he has attended the festival three times, calling it “just a great experience.”

“There are so many wonderful things in addition to the jazz music. The festival has great food and other vendors, and it is just a great overall experience and one I will continue to go to,” Young said, adding he plans to go again this year.

The 2019 festival features three stages: Meadow, Oak Hill and Park Drive.

May 26, the final day of the festival, the Meadow Stage will feature all Atlanta artists including The Milkshake Quintet, Alex Lattimore, Gary Motley, Rhonda Thomas and The Royal Krunk Jazz Orkestra.

The Oak Hill and the Park Drive stages also will spotlight a wide range of musical talent such as Kandace Springs, Richard Bona and OKCello.

Following the May 25 music lineup in the park, the Late Night Jazz Jam will take place at the Park Tavern at 10 p.m. This year’s event features a Herbie Hancock tribute by Lil’ John Roberts and The Senators, including Bill Summers, one of the original members of The Headhunters. Tickets are $40 and can be purchased by visiting www.freshtix.com/events/lnjj2019.

“We are fortunate to be able to showcase the talents of so many artists year after year at the Atlanta Jazz Festival,” Love said. “Jazz is a musical genre that can get overlooked, but at this festival we are able to showcase rising talent in the genre while also honoring jazz legends that have influenced today’s sounds.”

For the first time this year, 10 lucky Atlanta artists will display and sell their work as part of an Art Village Lottery meant to increase the accessibility of little-known Atlanta artists’ works.

Other booths featuring eclectic and handcrafted goods will line the park’s sidewalks, along with a variety of food and drinks available for purchase.

For more information, visit www.atlantafestivals.com.

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