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JZ Festival 2016 Primer

All the jazz and details you need to know ahead of this weekend's 2016 JZ Fest. Annnnnd... JAZZ HANDS!
Last updated: 2016-10-10

What's the Deal

Now in its 12th year, the JZ Festival (AKA the "JZ International Festival") is Shanghai's longest running and largest yearly outdoor music festival event. It returns to Expo Park this weekend, with the standard big-stage jazz and pomp this city has come to love and celebrate over the years. From its humble beginnings in Fuxing Park (with Ladytron playing, no less) the affair has gained in prestige to host in, on multiple stages, top notch, A-list luminaries of the jazz, funk, soul, and blues worlds -- everyone from Bootsy Collins to Jojo Mayer to Dee Dee Bridgewater to Roy Ayers and more. Although it's often cited as "China's largest jazz festival", this year more than ever, it's also played host to every genre of music, even pop and electronica. It's all good, just as long as it's kinda granola-y, really. A very family friendly event, expect big sunsets, big grassy expanses, and warm vibes tunage fit for all ages and backgrounds.

For the stock SmSh 60,000-word treatment of the thing, check out the interview we did with JZ founder Ren Yuqing a little while back.

Just the details...

The JZ Festival is October 15 and October 16, from noon until 10pm. Pre-sale tickets are 260rmb per day, and 350rmb at the gate per day. Free for kids under 1.3m.

Location, Times, and Getting There

JZ Festival happens in the beautiful Expo Park, which is full of green spaces on the Huangpu waterfront. Here's the address of the park:

Shibo Da Dao, near Changqing Bei Lu,
浦东新区,世博大道, 近长清北路,上海世博公园

Please note: The festival entrance is the "EXPO Celebration Square" entrance, close to the metro station. The gate and ticket office are now near the Benz Arena, at Shibo Da Dao, near Shangnan Lu (世博大道1200号, 近上南路).

The Metro: The closest subway station is China Art Museum (Exit 4), which is on Line 8 (you can transfer to that at People's Square, Laoximen, and via a bunch of other lines). Really, you should just take the metro. It's a ten-minute walk from there (with pineapple on a stick for the whole family). If you insist on taking a cab from downtown, it's probably only 50rmb-70rmb.

Tickets: SmartTicket is sold out of the Day 1 tickets. We still have a few of the Day 2 tickets left right here, however. Alternate handlers may still have some of the Day 1's. The alternate handlers are mumblemubmelmubmel...

Beer & Food: JZ Festival is popular because prices are always pretty reasonable across the board, in exchange for some world class music. Drafts were around 30rmb last year. They've got a "cocktail minibus" out there this year. Sounds promising. For food, expect a mix of Western items and some chuan'r. Always with the chuan'r.


Here you go...

A little thin of the usual suspects from the local Shanghai jazz scene. Meiyou: Coco Zhao, Alec Haaavik, Lawrence Ku, and Theo Croker, unless they're in the JZ big band. Some new faces though, and some interesting stuff on the electronic music stage, in particular with Beijing producer Soulpeak playing his latest stuff with trumpeter Ttechmack on the second day. The big headliner this year is beguiling singer-songwriter Corrine Bailey Rae, headlining main stage on both days in the exact same slot. She ain't playing the Lay's Chips stage, that's for sure.

Call on the Funk: 5 Samples from Festival Artists

Corrine Bailey Rae, 8.45pm, River Stage, October 15 AND October 16

Death in Vegas, 8pm, Lipton Earth Stage, October 16

Joshua Redman + Brad Mehldau Duo, 7.30pm, Stella Artois Jazz Harbor Stage, October 16

Noukilla, 4.15pm, River Stage, October 16

Randy Brecker, 7.45pm, Stella Artois Jazz Harbor Stage, October 15


After-party whispers are at the JZ Club, of course, with their new venue in Da Tong Mill opening to the public on the Thursday before the concert. We'll have more details on that later this week...