About The Festival

The 41st annual Freihofer’s Jazz Festival will take place on Saturday June 23 and Sunday June 24, 2018 at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center in Saratoga Springs, NY USA.

Founded in 1978 by jazz impresario George Wein, Freihofer’s Saratoga Jazz Festival is the fifth longest-consecutive-running jazz festival in North America. Initially founded as “the Newport Jazz Festival at Saratoga” the weekend event was renamed Freihofer’s Saratoga Jazz Festival in 1998. The two-day, two-stage festival continues to be one of the largest jazz music events in North America, beloved by audiences for both the remarkable annual line-up of international jazz talent and the spectacular setting at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center in the idyllic Saratoga Spa State Park.

Tips for Festivalgoers

  • Traditionally the gates open at 10am Saturday and 11am Sunday.
  • Hotels in the area fill up early for the festival weekend!
  • The closest airport with commercial service is Albany International Airport (ALB), about one half hour away from the festival by car.
  • SPAC’s Ground Rules for the festival include:
    • No pets, roller-blades, skateboards or bikes
    • No video or recording equipment – still cameras OK
    • No grills, hibachis or cooking equipment
    • No glass of any kind
    • No beer kegs or beer balls
    • It is a VIOLATION of NYS Law to carry or possess any firearm, knife, weapon or fireworks on Park Property

Do you have a tip for fellow festival-goers? If so, feel free to leave a comment below to let them know!

Historical Lineups

24 replies on “About The Festival”

Hi, we are attending the festival – and visiting SPAC – for the first time this year and are very excited to see and hear so many amazing artists. We have orchestra seats in the amphitheater but there are acts at the Discovery Theater that we want to see as well. And it would be nice to bring a cooler and some lawn chairs with us so we can stretch out between acts. Is this the kind of scene where you need to keep an eye on your belongings at all times, or can we safely “park” our chairs and cooler somewhere on the lawn for a couple of hours? Would appreciate any other tips for SPAC newbies (we’ve been to dozens of outdoor concerts elsewhere including the NO JazzFest). LMK if you’re attending next weekend – I’ll buy you a beer!

My experience is “safely park,” and I’ve been many, many times. The problem is likely to be the weather, unfortunately.

Thank you! We had a great time, rain (on day 1) notwithstanding. And Saratoga Springs is such a nice town.

I have not attended in 20 years (because of kids – now they are out of the house)
Can you still bring your own beer in? Can you bring a pop up canopy for lawn seats?

You can use chair umbrellas on the lawn near the amphitheater but not big beach umbrellas or canopy. Those can be set up on back lawn away from the stages.

This is the first that I am hearing about the festival. I cannot attend this year because of lack of preparation time so I would like to possibly attend next year. How do I get on to the mailing list for next year?

My wife & I started attending in 1981 with my brother and sister-in-law. It was by far our favorite event of the year. Such a cool place to listen to music, find a great place to eat and enjoy a couple of drinks. We’ve seen so many greats over the years. Old guard cats: Miles, Dizzy, Lionel, Sarah, Carmen McCrae, Younger ones: Grover,Wynton,Jarreau,Sanborn. The list seems endless, noon to midnight packed with Jazz. I understand the concerns over the recent lineups, but it has to be tough competing for artists in today’s world. There are so many more Jazz/Music Fests now competing in the short summer season. I also understand that Chaka Khan would draw better than Steve Khan. We will be returning this year for the first time in a few years. It is not so much the lineup that brings us back but the nostalgia and the atmosphere of the festival. Such a great vibe, beautiful place to hang and get away for a couple of days. For me, way worth the price. And i’m sure we’ll see someone new that surprises. It will be bitter sweet this year as my brother is no longer here. Life is short, enjoy while you are able.

frankie beverly, losing his voice,sunday show i thought was better than sat. show. over all go shows. i look forward to next year

TAKE A CHARTER BUS to Saratoga Jazz Festival 2013
Each year in last weekend of June, tens of thousands of Jazz lovers throughout the country flock to the suburbs of Saratoga Springs NY to attend this weekend of Jazz
This is an exciting weekend and all are invite to participate in this Charter bus trip hosted by Thompson’s Jazz Posse
E-mail us to get a list of dates and prices as soon as possible. If you’d like to join the mail list, e-mail us with your name, e-mail address,

I am seeking to buy tickets for The 35th annual Freihofer’s Jazz Festival, I don’t see a link to that event on this site, with prices for tickets for individuals, please help.

For those who are extremely gifted at saving a few bucks by bringing their own favorite foods..go for it. However, over the years I have taken less and less as the eating options at SPAC have gotten better and better. Why haul garbage and gear when you have access to a full bar, craft brews, and food vendors ranging from greens and beans to jambalaya to even varied styles of BBQ? Yes, the beer may be pricey, but the food has been well worth waiting on line for over the last few fests. I recommend packing lightly to make arrival and departure a breeze.

Best of 2010 Fest = Mario Abney Sextet. Worst of 2010 Fest = Al Jarreau. He should be removed from the regular rotation. He doesn’t sing and that baby talking act is annoying.

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