Jazz up your day with free concerts during the fourth annual Charlotte Jazz Festival, April 29-May 4

Take in a concert on the Levine Center for the Arts plaza at lunchtime, after work or after dark; enjoy 9 hours of jazz on Saturday.

The annual Charlotte Jazz Festival returns April 29 through May 4 in Uptown Charlotte.

Yes, some events will cost you some dough, but the festival also offers lots of free events. Here are some you can attend at no charge.

Charlotte Jazz Festival is presented as part of Charlotte SHOUT! For a complete list of the 75+ events and more festival info, visit the Charlotte SHOUT! website.

Photo: Blumenthal Performing Arts

Spend your lunch break at the Jazz Pavilion on the Levine Center for the Arts plaza. The Pavilion stage will feature some of Charlotte’s best jazz artists plus some special guests. Food trucks will be on site.

WHEN: 11:45 a.m. to 1:15 p.m.,  Monday, April 29 – Friday, May 3 | Jazz Pavilion at Levine Center for the Arts  

Photo: Blumenthal Performing Arts
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Join us Thursday night, Friday night, and Saturday for jazz concerts at the Jazz Pavilion on the Levine Center for the Arts plaza.  No tickets, no reservations needed.  Bring your friends and discover some of Charlotte’s best musical treasures.

WHEN:  5:30-8:15 p..m, Thursday, May 2; 5:30-11 p.m., Friday, May 3;  1-10:15 p.m., Saturday, May 4  | Jazz Pavilion at Levine Center for the Arts

Photo: Blumenthal Performing Arts

Charlotte Jazz Festival keeps the music going late into the night with Late Night Jams in the Knight Underground, the speakeasy-themed hideaway below the Knight Theater. These fan-favorite jam sessions are high-energy, totally improvised and the perfect nightcap.  (Space is limited.)

WHEN: 11 p.m., Friday, May 3 and Saturday, May 4 | Lower level of Knight Theater lobby

Photo: Blumenthal Performing Arts

Charlotte legend Loonis McGlohon was a world-renowned master musician, composer and visionary. In recognition of his many decades as a composer, writer, and jazz ambassador, Blumenthal Performing Arts and The Leon Levine Foundation established the Loonis McGlohon Young Jazz Artist Competition as a tribute to this special individual.

Ten finalists will be selected to perform at the Loonis McGlohon Young Jazz Artist Competition on Saturday, May 4, during the Charlotte Jazz Festival. The competition will be judged by a panel of musicians from the renowned Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra. The competition is open to the public, so come and cheer for your favorite young artist.

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WHEN: 2 p.m., Saturday, May 4  |  Jazz Garden Tent at Romare Bearden Park

Second Line Parade, Charlotte Jazz Festival. Photo: Phillip Hoffman

Join the Second Line Parade, a traditional New Orleans-style parade led by professional jazz musicians.

WHEN: 4:30 p.m., Saturday, May 4  | Starts at the Levine Center for the Arts plaza