The Happy Accident of San Jose Jazz

A Festival Had the Good Luck to Start with Few Resources, and That Allowed It to Stay Close to Downtown and Its Community

San Jose is the tenth largest city by population in the country, but its downtown became sleepy after retail moved to the malls in the 1970s. In 1991, a group of community members decided to help bring some life to the downtown.

We formed a board and thought that we would run a jazz festival. The city encouraged us to use the newly-minted convention center. From this vague wish, a good idea and an even better music festival, now in its 26th year, was born.

Our group was completely grassroots, but …

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