University of Idaho Hosts Annual Jazz Festival

For more than five decades, the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival has been bringing jazz masters together with elementary, middle-school, high-school, and college students at the University of Idaho in Moscow to celebrate jazz music and pay tribute to one of its most celebrated artists, Lionel Hampton.

The first Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival took place in 1967, with a dozen student groups and one guest artist. The festival continued to grow from there — erupting onto the national stage in 1981, when students and jazz fans packed a university gym to hear Ella Fitzgerald.

Now in its 57th year, the festival will be held at the Idaho Central Credit Union (ICCU) Arena from April 17 to April 20. Over the course of three nights, the concerts will feature incredible artists such as Kenny Garrett, Veronica Swift, the Lionel Hampton Big Band featuring Joe Doubleday, Jovino Santos Neto of Brazil, Samir LanGus of Morocco, and other great performers.

The festival features more than 200 student performances, a dozen world-class artists, and nearly 100 workshops, clinics and special exhibits celebrating jazz, a truly American art form.

The opening-night kick-off concert, “Hamp’s Gala,” will be on Wednesday, April 17, featuring the Lionel Hampton School of Music student ensembles in the university’s Administration Auditorium.

The Thursday-evening concerts, “World Music Celebration,” will showcase various artists in the ICCU Arena. The lineup includes Jovino Santos Neto, Samir LanGus, the UI Jazz Band, the UI Jazz Choir and the World Music Ensemble.

On Friday, Veronica Swift will headline, and other performers include the UI Chamber Jazz Choir, the UI Jazz Band and Hamp’s Jazz Ambassadors.

On Saturday, April 20, a special celebration of Lionel Hampton’s 116th birthday will feature Kenny Garrett performing selections for his latest release, “Sounds from the Ancestors,” along with the Lionel Hampton Big Band and Hamp’s Jazz Ambassadors.

For details, visit To purchase tickets, visit or call (208) 885-4636.