Festival History

It’s hard to believe that we’re planning the sixth year of the John Coltrane International Jazz and Blues Festival. Especially since originally no one was thinking of a music festival, but an idea to create something to honor the great jazz saxophonist and composer John Coltrane. He was born in Hamlet, NC came to embrace jazz in Philadelphia, PA but first learned to play the saxophone while growing up and attending public school in High Point, NC.

In 2004 a group of visionaries formed the Downtown Improvement Committee for the purpose of erecting a statue commemorating Coltrane as a High Point native son.

The statue was financed by grants from the Downtown Improvement Committee, the High Point Convention and Visitors Bureau, the High Point Museum, the City of High Point, the Guilford County Board of Commissioners, the High Point Community Foundation and private donations.

coltrane_statue-187x365The 8 foot tall, bronze statue was created by sculptor Thomas Jay Warren and dedicated on September 20, 2006. It is located at the Coltrane Plaza in downtown High Point. Legendary guitar icon, Carlos Santana wrote the words that were read at the dedication ceremony. Santana has cited Coltrane as a musical influence.

The Friends of John Coltrane officially formed in the summer of 2009 as an outgrowth of the group of individuals who worked to raise funds to commission the statue. In 2009 the group decided to focus their energies on the creation of an annual jazz festival. The very first John Coltrane International Jazz and Blues Festival was held two years later.

Since its inception, the John Coltrane International Jazz and Blues Festival has succeeded in bringing live jazz to the forefront of the Piedmont Triad communities.  Jazz is America’s indigenous art form and John Coltrane was one of the most influential artists of the genre.