JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

The annual Jacksonville Jazz Festival returns to Downtown Jacksonville this week. A full lineup of great musicians will be performing on various stages throughout downtown from Thursday through Sunday.

“Jazz Festival speaks to the character of our city and our quality of life,” said Mayor Alvin Brown. “We are proud to support this family-friendly, fun weekend and encourage everyone to come experience Downtown at its liveliest.”

New this year is the ‘Off Jazz’ concert featuring R&B artists Avant and Brian McKnight to be held Friday night at the Florida Theatre. Ticket prices for the concert are $38.50 and available at the theater box office and Ticketmaster.

Also introduced this year is ‘Jazz Fest After Dark’ -- a free, post-festival entertainment offering. Beginning at 10 p.m. each night of the festival, visitors can experience live jazz and other entertainment at one of three participating downtown venues: Underbelly, 1904, and the Burro Bar.

The Jacksonville Jazz Festival is a local tradition attracting thousands to the heart of Downtown for two and a half days of featured activities and a variety of jazz performances on three stages.

Confirmed festival performers include BWB featuring Rick Braun, Kirk Whalum and Norman Brown, Euge Groove, Gerald Albright, Gregory Porter, Poncho Sanchez, the Yellowjackets, Trombone Shorty, Najee, Rachelle Ferrell with the Jacksonville Symphony and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy.

Other festival components include Art in the Heart Downtown, an art show and sale; the Jacksonville Jazz Piano Competition; the Youth Jazz Talent Showcase; a jazz brunch; exhibits and displays. The Jacksonville Jazz Festival is free and open to the public unless otherwise listed. VIP seating options are available at www.JaxJazzFest.com

Updated festival information will be posted on the official Jacksonville Jazz Festival website and social pages as details are available.