2023 SC Jazz Festival

Dizzy Gillespie Statue
Dizzy Gillespie's Statue in Downtown Cheraw

Every year, on Dizzy Gillespie’s birthday weekend, the Town of Cheraw comes alive with the sights and sounds of jazz.  Artists from all over the country converge on this small Pee Dee Town to celebrate one of the most influential jazz musicians from the 20th century.  John Birks “Dizzy” Gillespie was born in Cheraw on October 21, 1917 and had a career spanning seven decades.  After learning music at a young age in Cheraw, Dizzy rose to become a big name in the development of a modern jazz style known as bebop.  In a career that included playing in big bands, serving as a US Jazz Ambassador, leading the United Nations Orchestra, to ending with receiving the Kennedy Center Honors in 1990, Dizzy was truly one of the most famous jazz musicians of his time.  Today, on the historic Town Green in downtown Cheraw an eight-foot-tall statue of Dizzy, designed by famous sculptor Ed Dwight, commemorates his larger-than-life personality and impact on the world of jazz.  Just as in real life, the statue is immediately recognizable as Dizzy, thanks to the famous bent trumpet, which helped him create some of his more unique musical notes.

Cheraw ushers in its 17th year of the South Carolina Jazz Festival October 13-15 with three days of great jazz and exciting activities.  The weekend, which coincides with the 105th anniversary of Gillespie's birth, will showcase the unique bond Gillespie shared with his South Carolina roots and jazz.

A wide variety of both free and ticketed concerts and events are scheduled for Friday and Saturday, October 14-15.  This year's festival will kick off with a free outdoor evening concert at the Gillespie Homesite Park on Thursday, October 13.

Metal cutout of Dizzy Gillespie in a park.
Today Dizzy Gillespie's homesite is a park filled with jazz themed statues.

Over 20 Jazz performances are scheduled during the festival. The concerts will feature regional musicians from both North and South Carolina and beyond.  

Weekend activities include free performances at Cheraw’s Centennial Park and free evening jazz crawls at local venues.  Art abounds during the weekend with community art activities and the festival’s 13th Italian Madonnari Chalk Competition.  Attendees can enjoy a self-guided Historic Cheraw Cell Phone Tour to over 25 points of interest, including Dizzy Gillespie related sites.

Chalk Art Competition in downtown Cheraw.
Downtown Cheraw comes alive with music and art every October

For more information about this great event, please visit www.scjazzfestival.com and be sure to follow the Town of Cheraw on Facebook for the latest news or claim your free visitor guide by Clicking Here.