The History of the Fillmore Jazz Festival

Fillmore Jazz FestivalCool Piece of San Francisco History – The Fillmore Street Jazz Festival
Against the backdrop of World War II, dozens of Fillmore Street Jazz clubs hosted the era’s major musical talents, including Ella Fitzgerald, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, and Billie Holliday. In the 60’s, Jazz historian David Rosenbaum ran the Melrose Record shop on Fillmore Street, employing high school student Maya Angelou.

Zen Buddhism was first introduced to the West in the Fillmore, which became a creative home to artists including Isaac Stern, The Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin, Mel Blanc and Alan Ginsberg.

In the 1980’s, a renaissance gave rise to the next generation of the Fillmore District. Merchant associations helped launch the first Fillmore Jazz Festival in 1985, giving new expression to the storied neighborhood. In 1999, the festival came home to the newly revitalized Jazz Preservation District.

Today, Fillmore Street once again hops with an acknowledging nod to the spirit that once filled the street. Boasting an eclectic mix of over 200 businesses — clubs, shops and restaurants — it continues to echo the music of its birth, transcending boundaries, embracing diversity, and celebrating personal style.

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