The long-running Suncoast Jazz Festival, its 29th edition slated for this November on Clearwater Beach in Clearwater, Fla., might best be defined by the kind of festival that it isn’t. Unlike the area’s well-known big jazz festival, it’s not a single-venue outdoors affair dominated by non-jazz acts. Nor is it a fairgrounds-style event with multiple stages devoted to multiple genres.
Instead, the Suncoast fest is more like an intimate party: 1,500 or so devoted listeners, largely skewing in the direction of 60 candles and older, hear new and old favorites on five indoor stages at a pair of comfortable hotels on the Gulf of Mexico. Festgoers listen to and mingle with jazz, swing, big-band, and blues players, and between performances break away to enjoy picture-perfect late-fall beach time. Free trolley service enables attendees to easily shuttle between the two locations.