Businesses feeling effects of Jazz Festival venue change

Bay Street businesses seeing a steady stream of customers

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jazz Festival in downtown Jacksonville is already underway and local businesses are reacting to the change in venue.

The festival has moved from Hemming Plaza and is now spread out over Bay Street with three stages.

Businesses around Bay Street are pleased. They say they are seeing a steady stream of customers and expect to see even more on Saturday.

But there are a few businesses that wish the Jazz Fest could have stayed closer to Hemming Plaza.
Several blocks from the festival Volstead bar co-owner Samuel Linn is hoping some of the festival-goers will head in his direction. His business is just around the corner from where the Jazz Festival used to set up shop in Hemming Plaza.
"It would have been nicer if it were around here," Linn said. "We'd get a little bit more exposure and people walking through the core of Downtown."

But Jerry Moran is not upset that the festival moved. He owns La Cena Ristorante near Hemming Plaza, away from the festivals' new location.

"It mostly ruined my business," Moran said of the festival. "We have a certain kind of clientele, coat and tie, older. The kind of people this festival attracts are not going to come in my place."

Businesses close to the fest say business is good and will only get better.

"Every couple of minutes it seems like the walkers and the traffic out front keeps growing and growing," said Greg DeSanto, owner of Olio.

Some of the businesses near Hemming Plaza say they will have workers come down to Bay Street with flyers to entice festival-goers to visit after the fest ends each night.

The Jazz Festival runs all weekend from 1-10 p.m. Saturday and from 1-8 p.m. Sunday.

For full schedule of events and details, visit JaxJazzFest.net.