Jacksonville Today Arts and Culture Editor Matt Shaw shares his top 3 arts and culture picks for the weekend.
Friday, Saturday & Sunday
Jacksonville Jazz Fest
Riverfront Plaza & Ford on Bay | Downtown Jacksonville
The Jacksonville Jazz Festival will return to Downtown this weekend, with three days and nights of performances on two stages in the heart of the Urban Core. The buzz on this year’s fest is that it might just be the jazziest lineup in recent memory. From the most influential Latin-jazz pianist (Eddie Palmieri) to two of the most-accomplished living bassists (Ron Carter, Marcus Miller) to the indisputable champion of jazz traditionalism (Wynton Marsalis), the 2023 festival is heavy with icons. Throw in some hard-hitting locals (LPT, Let’s Ride Brass band, Ulysses Owens Jr.) and a few mainstream stars (Chaka Khan!) and you have yourself a recipe for a rather tasty weekend of live music. Plus, the whole thing is free. The Jacksonville Music Experience is here to help you parse through all the jazz, with an interactive guide to the fest, staff picks and a playlist to get you primed for a great weekend of music. (You can also find GRAMMY-winning Jax drummer and Jax Jazz Fest performer Ulysses Owens Jr.’s picks here.)
Acid Mothers Temple
Jessie Ball duPont Center | Downtown Jacksonville
The influence of jazz, a true American artform, is infinitely wide, proliferating across genres and sub-genres of both mainstream and more left-of-the-dial musical styles. Enter Acid Mothers Temple. For the last two decades, the Japanese rock band has been luxuriant in its free-form exploration of psychedelic rock, improvisation and, well… noise, on its way to becoming an in-demand live act. This free show, held on the loading docks of the Jessie Ball duPont nonprofit center on Friday, offers a lineup that mirrors, in many ways, the breadth and depth of jazz’s subtle but prevailing influence, with performances from Austin, Texas improv-noise act ST37 and locals, including instrumental jazz quartet Madre Vaca and riffy-rock band Majestic Mother. Doors at 6 p.m. Music begins at 7 p.m. More info here.
Bo Bartlett: Earthly Matters
MOCA | Downtown Jacksonville
In this new exhibition at MOCA Jacksonville, one of America’s leading realist painters, Bo Bartlett, explores the issues of our time in compelling, often cinematic ways. The Georgia-born artist is known widely for his large-scale narrative works, which often draw on his Southern upbringing, placing hyper-realistic figures in surreal-like settings, creating an overall Gothic affect. An opening reception for Bo Bartlett: Earthly Matters is held on Friday, with a first-look public viewing from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. The exhibition officially opens to the public on Saturday. The museum is open from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. on Saturday and noon-5 p.m. on Sunday. More info here.