Jazz Festival attracts worldwide guests

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PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Panama City Beach seems to be a growing destination for music festivals of all types and this weekend is one unlike any other, drawing in jazz enthusiasts from around the world for a weekend of fun, sun, and smooth jazz.

Bridging the gap between spring break and summer, the Tourist Development Council is bringing in fun, outdoor events. like this weekend's Seabreeze Jazz Festival.

"We've got room in the hotels, we've got a premiere experience with this weather this time of year. And the fans that come out for the music come from all over the world literally to come to Panama City Beach," said Panama City Beach Tourist Relation Manager David Demarest.

"The whole feel of smooth jazz really fits the culture of the coastal area, from Pensacola to Panama City, so the radio station sort of driven the start of the festival but this whole lifestyle of smooth jazz and easy-going living and just enjoying the music and the beautiful breezes off the beach. It just ties together well here in Panama City Beach," said event organizer Mark Carter.

Bringing in big jazz names like Kenny G, Brian Culbertson, and the Tower of Power, jazz enthusiasts can come and enjoy a unique high end experience.

"It's for people who are jazz fans that don't mind traveling here from across the country, around the world. They spend money while they're here, they enjoy the nice things and so it's a great event for Panama City Beach," said Demarest.

It started off as a small venue 19 years ago in Seaside, but each year the Seabreeze Jazz Festival is bursting at the seams, bringing more than 7,000 people to the area.

"The first 10 years, about every couple years, we outgrew the location we were at," said Carter, "so when Pier Park became into be and then Aaron Bessant Park was available, we moved over here and and have been here for 9 years."

But while the event has grown to capacity, organizers say their goal is to keep the intimate setting where people can come to interact with the music.

This event is just the first of several weeks of music festivals in Panama City Beach, with the Pepsi Spring Jam the following weekend.

For more information, view Paris' interview.