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2024 Jazz in the Valley Festival Brings Live Music to the Poughkeepsie Waterfront

Date Published: June 25, 2024

Dutchess County is a one-of-a-kind destination for live music. Concerts run the gamut from intimate winery settings to large arenas. Of course, sitting on the banks of the Hudson River listening to live performances is one of the most memorable experiences the area has to offer.

Group of musicians on stage at Poughkeepsie waterfront Jazz in the Valley
Jazz in the Valley 2019

Jazz in the Valley brings acclaimed artists to the Poughkeepsie waterfront. The annual festival takes place just a short walk away from the MTA Metro-North train station. A massive tent offers plenty of seating, but bring lawn chairs or blankets for a true open-air atmosphere. It all kicks off at noon on August 18, 2024 at Waryas Park!


This carefully curated lineup of musicians will impress and inspire audiences at Waryas Park. This year's lineup is packed with living legends and emerging talents alike.

Saxophonist Charles McPherson played and recorded with Charles Mingus throughout the '60s and '70s, and brings unbelievable sound and expertise to the festival. Definitely catch Nnenna Freelon, whose engaging vocals have been heard alongside Ray Charles, Anita Baker, Aretha Franklin and many other giants of music. The festival also welcomes the multi-award-winning poet Nikki Giovanni to the Queen City.

Javon Jackson's music has been described as a blend of tradition and neo-jazz, soul, funk and hard bop. His career stretches from membership in Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers to playing on Tupac Shakur's "Keep Ya Head Up/Madukey Remix". Beyond recording with Betty Carter, Elvin Jones, Ben E. King and more, Jackson also portrayed saxophonist Illinois Jacquet in the Spike Lee joint Malcom X. Don't miss lively performances from Brandee Younger Trio and Mitch Frohman & The Bronx Horns.

Waryas Park Poughkeepsie green space by the Hudson River
Waryas Park, Poughkeepsie (site of Jazz in the Valley)

General admission tickets are $60 in advance and $70 at the gate. Or, puchase them before August 1 for an early-bird special of $50. Students with valid ID gain entrance at the gate for $20. Tickets can be purchased online through the festival’s website; to buy advance tickets, click here

Traveling from New York City? Take Metro-North from Grand Central or Amtrak from Penn Station to Poughkeepsie Station.

Group of musicians on stage at Jazz in the Valley

Ready to get the party started early? The first annual Poughkeepsie Jazz Crawl will precede Jazz in the Valley on August 17. 

While you’re at the festival, grab a bite to eat at one of the local food trucks, which in the past has included Caribbean fare, southern barbecue, seafood and more. Of course, several fan-favorite eateries are just around the corner. Pick up one of the famous Italian sandwiches at Rossi Rosticceria Deli, or snag a table on the rooftop at Zeus Brewing Co. for pizza, pasta and brews with views. 

Related: Prettiest Places to Dine Outdoors in Dutchess 

While you’re in town, be sure to check out the myriad of summer activities and events found only in the heart of the Hudson Valley. 

Millbrook Vineyards & Winery, Millbrook
Millbrook Vineyards & Winery, Millbrook

Plus, there are all sorts of opportunities to see live music in Dutchess County before the big show! Catch New York Yankees legend Bernie Williams at Millbrook Vineyards and Winery on Saturday, August 3 for jazz music in a scenic, outdoor setting.

Related: Outdoor Summer Concerts in Dutchess County 

renegades game at dutchess stadium
Hudson Valley Renegades at Dutchess Stadium, Wappingers Falls; Photo: @brit_tah_nee14

Parents, it’s a great time of year to bring the kids! Just a short walk from Jazz in the Valley, the Mid-Hudson Children’s Museum has several state-of-the-art interactive exhibits for developing minds. Our Dutchess Tourism Connection Finder mobile passport features several deals and discounts at family-friendly destinations, free of charge! Embark on scenic hikes with alpacas at Lilymoore Farm and Clover Brooke Farm, catch a classic summer baseball game with the Hudson Valley Renegades, rock climb at Gravity Vault and more. To get your free pass to family fun, click here.

Kayakers approaching Bannerman Castle on the Hudson River
Bannerman Castle, Beacon; Photo: @meagyrae09

Couples, it’s also a wonderful time of year for romance. There are so many romantic memories waiting to be made in Dutchess. Pick gorgeous sunflowers during peak season at Hudson Valley Cold Pressed Oils, or take a kayak for two out to castle ruins at Bannerman Island. (For other ways to enjoy the river during your stay, click here.)

The night before Jazz in the Valley, catch an outdoor movie and spend a night in a vintage airstream at Four Brothers Drive-In. Of course, if you’re looking for swoon-worthy accommodations, book a weekend at Mirbeau Inn and Spa in Rhinebeck—less than a half hour from Poughkeepsie! For a full list of hotels, bed and breakfasts, boutique inns and more nearby, click here

No car? No problem! Metro-North Railroad Poughkeepsie Station is just a short walk from Waryas Park. Start your day with a scenic train ride along the Hudson River on the Metro-North to Poughkeepsie. Walk toward the river from the train station as the gates open at 11am. You won’t miss a beat when the music starts at 12pm. Plus, there's a free shuttle bus to and from the event. To plan your trip with MTA Away, click here

About Jazz in the Valley

Jazz in the Valley began as an afternoon of music when TRANSART received an individual artist grant commission from the New York State Council on the Arts to commission Ahmad Jamal to create an original composition for the organization. Inspired by the natural beauty of the area he created “Picture Perfect” and it was first heard in a concert in the summer of 2000. Promoted as an afternoon of music and art the concert has since grown into an annual festival, showcasing music performed by world-class musicians, fittingly complemented by breathtaking views of the Hudson River Valley as backdrop.

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