Arts & Events » Studio Blog

The Return of the Richmond Jazz and Music Festival

After a hiatus, popular event at Maymont looks back to its beginnings.


Tickets have just gone on sale for the 11th edition of the Richmond Jazz and Music Festival which returns to Maymont the weekend of Aug. 12-13.

After growing to one of the area’s signature events in ten editions from 2010-2019, it has been on hiatus for the past three years, due largely to COVID concerns. The relaunch is a return to the beginning, with an already impressive and still-developing roster of artists headlined by 10-time Grammy winner Chaka Khan.

“Our booking process starts months to a year ahead of time,” says Whitney White of JMI, the Richmond marketing group that organizes the event. “This year we had to start from scratch again. We were thinking about who we wanted to bring back this year, which artists could have the biggest impact on our patrons?”

Khan made sense on several levels. “She headlined the first year of the festival and her music is something many people connect with, no matter what their background.”

Chaka Khan
  • Chaka Khan

As the confusingly accurate name of the festival suggests, the foundation of the event is jazz, but the lineup extends far beyond the genre. There are solid jazz artists like Kamasi Washington and Robert Glasper who are both at the top of their game. And there are big names from jazz’s commercially smooth suburbs, including Kirk Whalum, Peter White and David Koz. And there are modern R&B artists like Ledisi and Lalah Hathaway, ace Cuban percussionist Pedrito Martinez, and New Orleans’ institution the Dirty Dozen Brass Band. In other words, something for, if not everyone, a wide swath of musical fans. And the list and schedule continues to evolve. (Updated details can be found at

This year there are two main stages, separated by the traditional gauntlet of vendors of clothing, art, and the ultimate mid-August necessities, cold drinks, and frozen treats.

“Our goal is to create an immersive experience for our patrons,” says White. “We want it to be entertaining, of course, but also inspiring. Come to the festival and hear some of your favorite songs and be exposed to new artists who may become your favorites. Make new friends and leave with some amazing memories. I think that is what we would consider a success.”

It’s an approach that drew over 14,000 attendees in the last iteration. With the extensive gardens and fields of Maymont, the event can feel like a crowded concert at one of the stages, or a sylvan retreat with a distant soundtrack after a five-minute walk.

There is nothing else quite like it in the RVA musical calendar. It’s good to have it back.

Daily passes to the Richmond Jazz and Music Festival are $120. A weekend pass (includes Saturday and Sunday) is $185.