Singer-Songwriter John Earle a hit on Jacksonville's music scene
by Tracy Jones, Skirt! Jacksonville

U.S. Regional and Local Music Scenes
Local Jacksonville Music Scene

Jacksonville covers more area than any other city in the continental U.S. In the 2010 census the metro area had over one million people. The most legendary band from Jacksonville has been Lynyrd Skynyrd and their affiliated bands, .38 Special, The Rossington-Collins Band and Molly Hatchet.

Other artists who have been a part of the history of the Jacksonville music scene include Limp Bizkit, Lee Ann Womack, Blackfoot, Quad City DJs, Ryan Adams, Shinedown and Yellowcard. Nightclubs showcasing local music include Freebird Live, Jack Rabbits, Plush and Endo Exo. The annual Jacksonville Jazz Festival is one of the biggest jazz events in America. The local music scene is covered by The Florida Times-Union and Folio Weekly. Campuses include University of North Florida and Jacksonville University.

Al Stone * Anca * Angie Kay * Ben Robinson * Big Engine * Black Lightning * Blake Dawson * Bobaloos * Bruce Hamilton * Cheryl Watson and Watertown * Connor Blackley * Cruxshadows * Crimson City Romance * David Lee * DeeDee Laux * Earth Empire * Elisha "Atlas" Parris * Greenhouse Lounge * Henry Westberry and Flyte DeVille * J. Collins * Jazz Police * John Earle Band * Jordyn Stoddard * Katriahna Karam * Lauren Elise * Lefty Blues Band * Lissajou * Mark Romero * Pete Valentine * Rebel One * Red Afternoon * Rocco Blu * Ron & Mary * Shawn Eager * Skreech * Toots Lorraine and the Traffic * Will Pearsall * Zack Gibs *

Jacksonville Local Music Scene History

The local music scene was shut down in March 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. Several musicians adapted to the social distancing environment my making virtual performances on online video and audio streaming platforms. The Jacksonville Music Experience from WJCT streamed local videos on its Facebook page, launched by station manager David Luckin.

Several music festivals were held in the Jacksonville area in 2018. The diverse list of festivals include the Jacksonville Blues Festival in April, Oyster Jam Music Festival in April, Jacksonville Jazz Festival in May and Jacksonville Funk Fest in May.

You can learn a lot about the history of Jacksonville music by visiting, which covered Eu Magazine's history of the city on November 11, 2009. A summary of this rich history goes back to the 1900s when James Weldon Johnson wrote a song called "Lift Every Voice and Sing," which became a theme for the NAACP by 1919. Arthur Blake rose to fame during the 1920s and 1930s as a blues artist. Ray Charles, who helped bring R&B music into the mainstream, attended the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind in St. Augustine before moving to Jacksonville in 1945.

National acts from the region that followed were Classics IV, Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Allman Brothers Band in the sixties. Later acts included Molly Hatchet, 38 Special,Blackfoot, 95 South, 69 Boyz, Quad City DJs, Limp Bizkit and Yellowcard.

While Jacksonville is known around the country for its Jazz Festival and Lynryd Skynyrd the city's profile has changed through the years and now has a big college scene. It's now a diverse city of many genres, as reflected by Apollo Worldwide, a huge festival for fans of every type of modern music imaginable. This evolution from a jazz/blues and southern rock culture to a much broader culture was written about in this Emmy Michalakis article that appeared on in June 2012.

Local music fans created a Jacksonville music history app as a class project at the University of North Florida. It's called the "Jackson Music History Tour Smartphone App" created by Brian Higham, Josh Salestrom and Tony Rossodivito, who worked with the Ritz Theatre and the Stetson Kennedy Foundation. The app takes users to various music sites of historic arts associated with the city. Prior to its renovation, the Ritz Theatre was an important landmark from 1921 to 1971 for Jacksonville culture because it was the venue where many well known entertainers performed. One of the city's most historic shows was the Beatles concert on Friday, September 11, 1964 at the Gator Bowl.

A local compilation CD called Amplified, featuring Northeast Florida recording artists, was announced by The Elbow, a co-op partner for Downtown entertainment events, in January 2016. It's a follow-up release to the spring 2014 CD compilation that showcased a variety of regional talent. Styles range from folk to jam-funk to punk. Acts on the first album included Grandpa's Cough Medicine, Inspection 12 and JacksonVegas. The first album had a pressing of 2,600 copies and was issued free.

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