Springing the Blues is a blues music event that takes place in Jacksonville Beach, Florida every year. The Seawalk Pavilion along the Atlantic Coastline serves as the venue for the festival. It is an enormous outdoor celebration of the blues music genre.
The festival first began in 1991, making it one of the oldest events of its kind on the East Coast. Springing the Blues celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2010 with new features and exhibits. Over the years it has grown into one of the largest blues music festivals in the country. More than 125,000 people attend the event annually.
Artists who have performed at the festival in the past include Derek Trucks, North Mississippi Allstars, Kim Reteguiz & the Black Cat Bones, Little Jimmy King, Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown, Mitch Woods & His Rocket 88's, Victor Wainwright & the Wildroots, Charlie Musselwhite, Trampled Under Foot, and R. L. Burnside.
Two different stages are set up across the oceanfront venue where well-known Blues musicians, as well as emerging local artists, perform. Festivities take place over three days and include activities for kids, an artisan marketplace, and a multi-cuisine food court.
Springing the Blues Festival is free for everyone to enjoy. A limited number of VIP passes go on sale a few months before the festival dates. VIP tickets come with perks like stage-front armchair seats, private restrooms, exclusive dining areas, and drink service. You can buy a VIP pass for a single day or all three days of the festival. Prices range from $20 (one-day VIP pass) to $60 (weekend VIP pass).
Tickets can be purchased in advance online or at the Will Call tent on the days of the event. For updated information on schedules and passes, take a look at the official festival website.
You can reach Jacksonville Beach by traveling along the I-95 and I-10. Once you get to the beachside city, there will be signs to direct you to the venue. You may need to park your RV offsite before heading to the festival since there are likely to be road closures and traffic delays on the days of the event. Call 511 to check if any alerts have been issued in the Duval County area before starting on your trip.
Metered street parking is available on second street and third street in the downtown area. Public parking can often be found on First Street, Second Street, or near the Jacksonville Beach Pier. Additionally, there are a number of paid parking lots close to the venue. Note the size of your motorhome or camping setup when planning your RV trip, especially as it relates to parking. Patrons are encouraged to carpool to the event to cut down their environmental footprint.
Jacksonville Beach is a walking-friendly city. You can also get around using one of the new Beachside Buggies. These electric carts will get you to the venue for free; remember to kindly tip your driver. Another option is to take a taxi or use a ride-sharing app.
Onsite camping is not available at the venue since it is centrally located along the coast, and large parking spaces are hard to come by in the area. Fortunately, there are several other well-equipped campgrounds in the region. You can easily park your rig at your chosen site and head to the festival using public transport.
The nearest RV park is about eight miles from the festival venue and is situated within the city limits. There are several others within a 25-mile radius, many of which have beach or riverfront access. Thanks to the city’s status as a popular tourist destination, these parks and campgrounds are situated close to well-known Jacksonville attractions.
Personal motor vehicles like ATVs, bicycles, or skateboards will not be allowed within the festival grounds. Thanks to the relatively small size of the venue you can get around on foot, and there's no real need for wheeled transport. Patrons with disabilities will be allowed to use motorized or manual wheelchairs and scooters.
April in Jacksonville is typically warm and humid. Wear clothing made from lightweight, breathable fabrics, to stay sweat-free and comfortable. Sunglasses and a hat are recommended to protect yourself from the sun’s rays. Be sure to put on a pair of flat shoes. You may want to consider taking a lightweight jacket to stay warm after sundown.
Load up your rig with essential cooking and camping supplies. Since you will not have your RV close by at the event, it’s a good idea to pack a small bag or backpack with essentials like sunscreen, a portable charger, hand sanitizer, and ear protection for the little ones. Large ground coverings will not be allowed due to space limitations, but you can take a small, lightweight blanket for seating that fits the size allowances.
Make sure the first aid kit in your RV is well-stocked and up to date before starting on your trip. Also, ensure that you’re carrying an adequate supply of any personal medications you may need. Hydration is essential when you’re in a hot and humid environment. Carry a reusable water bottle and fill it up frequently.
Contained fires are typically permitted at Florida campgrounds. Make a list of all the essentials you need to cook up delicious food at your campsite. Carry instant coffee, tea bags, and other beverages that can make your meals a lot more enjoyable. Many of the campgrounds have small convenience stores onsite or nearby, so you can stock up if you do forget something.
You will not want to leave Jacksonville Beach without tasting some of the delicious fresh seafood that the area is famous for in Florida. Some must-try dishes are the crab cakes, shrimp & grits, and butter broiled oysters. Many of the restaurants are right by the beach, so you can enjoy a fantastic view while you eat your meal.
There will be a wide array of food and beverage options at Springing the Blues Festival. Local food vendors and caterers will set up stalls in the nearby food court. Choose from festival classics like burgers and hot dogs or go for one of the more exotic dishes on offer while on your trip.
Private security personnel, as well as police officers, will be patrolling the area. They will be responsible for ensuring that a safe environment is maintained. Feel free to approach one of them if you need assistance. All bags and belongings will be searched upon entry. Patrons may need to go through an airport-style search as well.
Springing the Blues Festival takes during its namesake season when the days are warm and the nights are still chilly. Temperatures typically range in the high 70s during the day. Sudden showers are not likely, although it’s best to go prepared with some rain gear. Check your weather app on the day of the event before getting dressed and heading out for your day of music and beach time.
Trained EMTs will be present to take care of any medical emergencies. Patrons can head to the first aid center for any information or assistance. Every attempt will be made to accommodate the needs of patrons with disabilities or medical conditions. In the case of specific requests, contacting the organizers in advance is recommended. Various pharmacy and medical services are located within 25 minutes of the coastline by vehicle.