Is there an age requirement to get in like over 21 years old?

No, all ages are welcome. 
JazzTrax encourages children and teen-agers because introducing them to this music at a young age ….well, would you rather have them listening to F-Word filled RAP?

What’s the Weather like on the Island in October?

Think Southern California and then think Southern California Beaches in the Fall.
Whatever the weather is like on them in the Southland Fall that’s pretty much how it will be on Catalina Island.  Avalon is on the ocean, 26 miles away from say  Newport Beach, Marina Del Rey, Dana Point.   It’s just on an Island, looking at those other beaches.

So, the weather patterns on the beaches and on the Island in October?

Usually Indian  Summer.   75 degree Days.  65 degree Nights.
Sometimes a variation rolls in like a quick day of Wind & Rain, but that’s not normal.
Or the Santa Ana Winds blow straight out to sea, and there sits our Island and it gets very warm days….maybe 80 degrees…..and perfect at night.

How do people dress for this festival?

Well, what’s different about this festival is there is An Afternoon Session and an Evening Session.   Afternoons are very very casual. Shorts are very acceptable and T-Shirts in the afternoon, especially if it’s a warm day.  At night people tend to dress a bit more Casual Nice. Nice Shirt and Long Pants.  Real Fancy Dancy attire is a bit unusual. Although once a lady arrived in a see through dress.   We kicked her out, but we waited about an hour first.  Just remember in terms of footware and sandals in the afternoon, you are climbing 6 ramps to get UP into the Casino Ballroom that sits on top above the Casino Theater overlooking the Harbor and Ocean.

How do you get to the Island?

Catalina Island sits 26 miles off the Southern California Coastline.
Catalina Express operates the primary ferry line to the Island with ports in San Pedro and Long Beach, about a half hour from Los Angeles International Airport.   Catalina Flyer operates once a day from Newport Beach and another from Marina Del Rey once a day.
Only Catalina Express has return boats to Long Beach after Saturday and Sunday Final Performance around 11:30 p.m.

Google Shuttle Services from your airport to Catalina Express Boat Terminals.  
Or Rental Cars.   Enterprise Car Rentals has an outlet at Boat Terminal in Long Beach. 

Nearest Airports
Los Angeles International Airport  LAX   
about 30 minutes from boat docks
Long Beach Airport            
about 10 minutes from boat docks
John Wayne Airport in Orange County               
about 40 minutes from boat docks
Burbank’s Bob Hope Airport
                           About 45 minutes from boat docks
Ontario International Airport
                           About 1 hour from boat docks
San Diego International Airport
                           About 2 ½ hours from boat docks
All of these times can stretch dramatically because of L.A. and Orange County’s horrid traffic.   Give yourself at minimum an extra hour on top of the above times and Catalina Express recommends arriving 45 minutes before your boat departure times anyway.

Transportation in Avalon on Catalina Island

Avalon is 1 square mile.  Most everything is walkable.
There is full Taxi Service.  Some hotels offer shuttle from boat docks.
Walking from Boat Landing around harbor to Main Street takes about 5 minutes.   Boat Landing to Casino and Avalon Ballroom is a l5 minute walk at most.  Walking from Descanso Beach from Casino is 3 minutes.   Walking from Descanso Beach to Main Street is 10 to 12 minutes.

There are Golf Cart rentals but on an hourly rental rate.  You cannot rent a cart overnight.   Hamilton Cove Villas come with a private golf cart for your entire stay.    Golf carts are licensed vehicles and the primary mode of island transportation.   All California Vehicle Laws apply.   PEOPLE DO GET ARRESTED FOR DRUNK GOLF CART DRIVING.   SAME PENALTY AS DRUNK DRIVING IN A CAR.


Where do you stay?

Avalon is filled with Quaint Hotels and Rental Houses.
See the JazzTrax Where to Stay Page.

There is also a campground called Herman’s Gulch. Bit of a walk or Taxi it. 

Catalina Island Vacation Rentals has the largest array of Hamilton Cove Villa’s and in town Condo and Rental Houses.   Other than perhaps airfare, accommodation costs are the biggest expense of this festival as the majority of festival goers arrive on Thursday or Friday and stay for the extent, 3 to 4 days.  Some stay 10 days and take in 2 consecutive festival weekends.  The BIGGEST way to cut accommodation costs is to come with another couple or other friends. Splitting the cost of a Rental House or multiple bedroom condo. You are in the Ballroom and out to eat more than in your hotel room.
Come with another couple and cut your overnight costs in half.

Where do you eat?

Hamilton Cove Villas have full kitchens as do many condo’s and rental houses in town.  There are 2 VON’S Grocery Stores and 2 Liquor Stores.    Avalon is filled with many quaint restaurants serving from breakfast to Dinner.  Get munchies late at night.   Hot Dog Stand across from C.C. Gallagher’s stays open perhaps till midnight and another Stand behind The Locker Room Bar. 
See Full Listing of Restaurants on JazzTrax Where to Eat Page

There is Food to Order during the JazzTrax Festival in the Avalon Ballroom.   Salads, Fruit, Pizza’s, Wings, Deserts and FULL BAR. No outside food or drink allowed inside except Bottles of Wine and Champagne with Corkage Fee.

Full Food Service till after Midnight at Saturday Night JazzTrax Festival After Party at Descanso Beach and Full Bar Service.

Highly Recommended to make Dinner Reservations before festival 7 p.m. (fri. 7:30 p.m.) JazzTrax Festival start times as everyone is trying to dine before Evening Concerts begin. 

How do you get tickets for the festival?

Over 70% now order tickets On-Line using no live operator.
We explain more on our website by far than the live operators know.
In fact, the live operators basically only know the line-up and ticket costs and show times.  
The website gives you PICTURE PAGES of The Island, the tiny seaport village, the Avalon Ballroom and Wrigley Ranch, and pictures of the festival in action through the years.

On-line you can see the seating chart and see EXACTLY which seats or tables are still available.  Click and you own those seats or tables immediately.   Unfortunately because we can’t be at the whim of people Constantly changing their schedules, there are no refunds once purchased. 

Or you can call 866-TRAX TIX.   866-872-9849.   Push 9 to immediately Order tickets or punch through the voicemail options and listen to full details and artist line-ups.   Tickets are almost always available for each session At the Casino Box Office.   Occasionally Saturday Nights sell out as the weekend arrives.   The recession has knocked things down a bit so no session has completely sold out lately, but there are no guarantees. 

You can order tickets ahead of everyone, or reserve your same seats for next year through the Pre Ticket Order form in the festival program which is also available in late September on-line.  

Full Series Tickets go on sale Friday of Thanksgiving Weekend on-line at and by phone 866-TRAX TIX • 866-872-9849.

Single Session Tickets go on sale Friday of Memorial Day Weekend.
Much of Club Section always sells out to Full Series Tickets and remains on sale through Summer only by clicking Full Series. This includes first 6 rows and most Table Seating.

Whatever is left from Club Seating is released to Single Session Sales in late September.   If you click Single Session Seating Chart and see Tables  and Club Section appearing to be Sold Out, chances are some of those are still available if you click Full Series Chart. 

Can I See and Read the Festival Program on-line?

Yes.   When it is published in mid September.   Also see and read previous year’s festival programs.    When you arrive at the JazzTrax Festival you can take as many copies of the festival program home as you’d like.   They are free.   If you are interested in purchasing an ad in the JazzTrax Festival programs contact  

Want to ask more Questions about the Catalina Island JazzTrax Festival?

E-Mail • Voicemail is not answered.  Only e-mails.

Will I meet the performing artists?

If you stand in line after each concert you probably will.
Almost all 30 plus stars of smooth jazz after their performance come to the JazzTrax Store Autograph Counter to sign your copy of their new CD.    The CD Store sells all performing artists newest CD all 3 weekends.   It is so intimate at the Wrigley Ranch you will meet the artist for sure.   This little seaport village is so intimate you might meet your favorite smooth jazz star walking down Main Street or sitting next to you at a restaurant.  If you are on the Late Boat back to Long Beach,
You might be sitting next to the Star you just watched performing on Stage .

What are some ways I can cut the cost of attending this event?

Best way to vastly diminish your costs is to come with another couple and split the overnight accommodation costs by renting a multiple bedroom rental house, condo or Hamilton Cove Villa through Catalina Island Vacation Rentals

You can also cut costs with a rental house or condo that has a kitchen.
Vons Grocery Store has everything you need.

Also book early.  Hotel costs will stay the same but you’ll get less by booking later.   The best hotel rooms are purchased early by those who come to the Island every year and know which hotels give you the best and the most for you’re your money.

Who created this event?  And when?

Art Good created the Catalina Island JazzTrax Festival in 1987.
October was the month he chose because of the incredible Fall Weather in Southern California yet the season ended after Labor Day in September.   He first came to the Island OCTOBER 1982.
He first entered the Casino Ballroom January 1987.   This festival debutted 9 months later.   Art was the first to Create Contemporary Jazz (later termed Smooth Jazz) on the West Coast with his Lites Out San Diego debut on KIFM  March 8, 1982.  He also helped Create the long standing Humphrey’s Concerts by the Bay Summer 1982.   His Quarter Century old JazzTrax Syndicated Radio Show went on the air Labor Day Weekend 1985 from which grew the original audience for this Island Festival.

What makes this festival different than others?

The JazzTrax Festival is the Grand Daddy of all Contemporary Jazz Festivals.   It was the first to be exclusively Smooth Jazz. 

It’s on an Island.

It offers 5 Festival Sessions.   10 full length Concerts each of 3 consecutive weekends.

15 sessions and 30 concerts and 40 different stars of smooth jazz over 3 weekends.  
No other jazz festival lasts this long and offers this much;

What does this festival offer that no other festival offers?

An Island.
You take a boat (or a helicopter) (or fly into the Airport in the Sky) to get here.

The choice of 3 different weekends.

Chance to stay on an Island for 10 consecutive days encompassing
2 full festival weekends.

A Thursday Night Unplugged Concert  as a preliminary to each festival weekend.   Seemingly in the middle of nowhere, on the far side of the Island, at the Wrigley Ranch (moving to Descano Beach in 2011).

Do some festival goers actually attend multiple weekends?

Especially Southern California locals come for multiple weekends.
Some pick a day trip one weekend and stay the entire weekend another.
Some just come for a couple entire weekends.
One couple from Big Bear sail their boat over ahead of weekend l.
They go home to work during the week, but the boat stays and serves as their weekend accommodations when they return each week.  They sail home after the 3rd weekend.

Do some actually stay for 10 consecutive days, capturing 2 festival weekends?

A couple from London and several couples from Milwaukee arrive on Friday and check in for 10 days. They buy 2 full weekends of JazzTrax and a Wrigley Ranch Ticket in between and make it a 10 day Island vacation.  

During the festival weekend you are constantly going to the Ballroom for concerts and into town for meals and to Descanso Beach for the Saturday Night After Party into the wee hours.  Or late nights each night at the Hot Brand New Avalon Grille.

If you add extra week nights and all week in between festival weekends you’ll be amazed how relaxed you’ll get.  High Speed Internet is available everywhere to keep you in touch with your office at home.

What else is there to do in Avalon and on the Island beyond the festival itself?

Lots……………………or Nothing.   Whichever you prefer.
See the Things to Do Page on our website

Tours…..Inner Island Tours to the Airport in the Sky and Beyond
Nightly First Run Movies in the Casino’s 1929 Theater
Non crowded Restaurants
Descanso Beach…..kayakking……
Scuba and Snorkelling off Casino Point
Golf and Tennis

What is the history of Catalina Island?

Google this and get a whole lot more, but Indians originally lived here.
The Banning Brothers owned it in the early 1900’s before selling to
William Wrigley in 1919.   Wrigley built the Casino in 1929.
The Wrigley Ranch and Wrigley Mansion (now a Bed & Breakfast) in the early 30’s.   Round 1976 the Wrigley Family did a 50 year deal (now well over half way through) with the State of California to make the Island a Conservancy.   Much of Avalon though is private property.
There is also a very very small community towards the Northern End of the Island at the Isymus, also called Two Harbors where the distance from the east harbor is just a quarter mile to the scenic Catalina Harbor on the west.  The Isymus is where Natalie Wood drowned.

Who lives here?

There is a small year round population including a local High School
The Avalon Lancers
The work service force of Avalon of course is year round and raising children.  
There is the local business community and retirees.
Of course there are some who have lived on the Island their entire life.
Some own mainland homes and 2nd homes in Avalon and actually they’re not even sure which of the 2 is their 2nd home.  In Summer the population explodes.   July and August the sky high tourist season.  And now because of October because of JazzTrax.

Pregnant women are medivaced off the Island to have their babies born on the Mainland.    There is a local Court and Sheriff’s office in Avalon served by the County of Los Angeles which they are in.   Avalon is basically a Los Angeles suburb even if on an Island.   A judge comes over on Fridays.  There’s a murder about once every 10 years.   But a whole lot of weddings.   Art Good even got married here.
(and divorced in Indio).   The marriage was cheaper.

Spencer Davis of The Spencer Davis Group (‘Give Me Some Lovin’)
Lives year round in Avalon when not touring.

What is it’s basic economic source?

Some Fishing

Is there television, radio, internet in Avalon?

Former Mayor Ralph Morrow (still a CouncilMan)
Brought full Cable TV service to Avalon in the early 90’s.
Everything you get elsewhere you get in Avalon.
It’s in most hotels and many rental units

Radio is Los Angeles Radio.  Anything you get in L.A. you’ll get on the Island.  Especially FM since it straight line of site across only 26 miles of ocean.  

Full Internet service.   Your hotel might offer it free.   Otherwise connect to the local pay WI FI service.    Hamilton Cove is pretty much per owner on rental units. 

Cell Phone service?

Iffy at Hamilton Cove.   Try going out on the end of the ocean boat dock
Or top of the road above tallest units on North facing south.  Phones in all units.

You should get full cellphone service in the village.

What if I just won the lottery or sold ahead of the recession and want to BUY a place in Avalon?

Try Catalina Island Vacation Realty.

What if I want to sail to the Island?

Avalon on the south and the Isymus on the Island’s northern end are the Primary Sailing Destinations for all Sailboats, Power Boats and Yachts of Southern California from Santa Barbara to San Diego. Check with the Harbor Master for a mooring.   Mooring Owners have 1st call on their moorings, but from there there is a nightly charge. All handled through the Harbor Master.   Many with boats arrive on Wednesday or Thursday to guarantee a mooring. There are moorings alongside Descanso Beach and Hamilton Cove, but The protected Avalon Harbor is obviously first choice.

What if I get sea sick and can’t take boats?

Island Express offers helicopter service from San Pedro and Long Beach.    Takes about 13 minutes each way.   Airport in the Sky can handle your small private plane.  You then taxi or shuttle the 45 minutes down into Avalon.

Can I come for just l day?

JazzTrax has Many Day Trippers, especially by those who live in Los Angeles, Orange, Ventura and San Diego Counties.   It takes just 1 hour for the main ocean crossings.   90 minutes from Dana Point. Catalina Express has constant ferry’s all day beginning as early as 6 a.m.  with a Late Boat Back to Long Beach after final performance, Around 11:30 p.m. on festival Saturdays and Sundays.

What is this Thursday Nights Unplugged at the Descanso Beach?

This early arrival evening event Thursday Nights before each October JazzTrax Island Weekend was begun at the Wrigley Ranch on the far side of the Island in 2004. In 2011 it moved to Descanso Beach, on the Ocean, right on the beach, at the newly remodelled Descanso Beach Club. A Star of Smooth Jazz performing in an even more intimate location than even the Avalon Ballroom. Just 500 seats outdoors, mere steps from the waves. Club Section is Paired Chaise Lounge seats right in front of the stage which sell quickly.

Private Cabana’s seating 4 persons. And a section of folding white chairs in between. With the concert ticket drastically reduced from The Wrigley Ranch because you simply walk up the boardwalk from town to attend. There is an optional dinner you can purchase at Descanso Beach Club or simply dine in town before coming to the concert which starts at 7:30 p.m.

Best of all, when you wake up Friday’re already in Avalon with an entire day to relax, explore before the Ballroom concerts Begin Friday Night at 7:30 p.m.

If I fly in from outside the area…..what are my logistics?

Shuttle or Rental Car from one of the Airports listed above.
Enterprise has a rental counter in the Long Beach Downtown Landing
Give yourself 2 hours minimum between landing and boat departure.
This is Los Angeles and it’s horrid traffic.

If I’m driving to catch a boat…what are my logistics?

Again add an hour to the time you are expecting it to take.
2 hours from downtown San Diego, so add an hour, 3 hours.
1 hour 45 minutes from Palm Springs, so add an hour, 2 hours 45 minutes.

It’s okay to get to the boat dock early.
Park and get your ticket in hand immediately.
The boats leave ON TIME nearly every time and gates close 5 minutes early.    Worst feeling is to see Your Boat backing out and you’re not on it.  
Catalina Express in Long Beach has a bar and upstairs a new Fresh Foods Restaurant and Bar and downtown Long Beach has fun stuff and great restaurants a short taxi drive away.  
Catalina Express in San Pedro has deli and bar.
Catalina Express in Dana Point is in a beautiful harbor with restaurants nearby.     
Arrive EARLY.   Don’t miss your boat!
Los Angeles is famous for traffic jams.   Once your boat backs out and heads across the ocean you’ll leave it all behind.  Only traffic jams in Avalon are occasional golf cart back-ups as tourists cross Main Street.

Do most people come for the day or for the weekend?

Majority of festival goers come for the entire weekend, many arriving for Unplugged at the Wrigley Ranch on Thursday, waking up in Avalon Friday Morning with a full day to relax before the concerts begin Friday Night in the Avalon Ballroom, but there are also many DayTrippers  who take the 1 hour boat to the Island and return to the mainland the same day catching just the afternoon session or catching an afternoon and an evening session, taking the late boat back to the mainland with the final band.

What is this After Party at Midnight on the Beach?

Each Saturday Night of October’s JazzTrax Festival after the final performance we party on the beach into the wee hours of Sunday Morning.   No Ticket Required as DJ Jonathan Phillips spins dance tunes at Descanso Beach.   It’s just a 5 minute walk up the boardwalk along the ocean from the Avalon Ballroom in the Casino.   Full Bar and Full Food Menu served until usually 1:30 a.m.

Where can I eat out while at the festival?

Avalon has a tastey variety of Restaurants.
See the list here.

Is there a grocery store?   Can I cook in my rental house or rental condo?

There are 2 Von’s Grocery Stores and 2 liquor stores.
Most Rental Houses, Rental Condo’s and all Hamilton Cove Villa’s have full kitchens.

What is Hamilton Cove?

A private community that seems to almost hang over the ocean off the side of the Island, just to the North of the Casino.  Catalina Island Vacation Rentals has the largest volume of Rental Villa’s here.
All Villa’s include a private golf cart during your stay. It is a gated community with a private beach that has beach barbecues, Beach volleyball.   An ocean boat dock you can fish off, drink your coffee on.   Scuba or Snorkel or just swim in the ocean.  2 lit tennis courts.   18 hole putting green.   Pool, Jacuzzi and work-out rooms that look out over the ocean.  Many festival goers through the 24 years of JazzTrax have purchased their own Villa. Catalina Island Vacations Realty, same website above, has a full listing of what is for sale.

Where do I go to find accommodations in Avalon?

Do I need a car once I get there?

Walking and Golf Carts are the primary mode of Island transportation or Tour Bus if you want to see the Inner Parts of Island outside the gates of Avalon. 
Oh…..there are Buffalo in the Inner Island, left by a movie made on the Island in the 30’s.
There are a handful of cars but not many, owned by locals, or the hotels, or the restaurants.

Is there a bank on the Island? ATM machines?

U.S. Bank on Main Street by the Taxi Stand.
It has l ATM machine.
Everybody takes Credit Cards

Does the festival take credit cards?

You can use your credit card to purchase JazzTrax Tickets, JazzTrax Merchandise at the JazzTrax store, including CD’s and at the Bar and Food Counter

What’s the policy on food and drinks being brought in or what is offered?

No outside food or drink can be brought in.
Only Bottles of Wine or Champagne with a Corkage Fee charged.
The Ballroom has full bar and food service.

What’s the policy on camera’s?   video?   Recording devices?

Personal digital cameras are allowed, but no flash is allowed towards the stage during performance.   No full size professional cameras.
Absolutely no Video Cameras.   This is by contract with the artists.
Absolutely no Recording devices.
You will want to take a million pictures of the Ballroom and the Ocean off the Ballroom Outside Verandah which is 6 stories up looking over Avalon Harbor, Descanso Beach and the Pacific Ocean.

What is the Seating Set-Up.?

It is ALL Assigned Seating.   By purchasing a full series ticket you own that SEAT or Table Seat all weekend.  Or you can purchase a Single Session Ticket.    Table Seating is opened up to single session as each Weekend approaches.  Most Table Seating sells out to full series ticket purchase.  Some back of room Table Seating is opened earlier in summer to single session.

Tables?   Chairs?

The Main Ballroom Floor is all Theater Style Chairs.

Tables circle both sides and the back of Ballroom and are elevated slightly over the ballroom foor. 
Most tables have 4 seats.   If you purchase 2, you will be sharing with 2 other people.   You must purchase at tables in pairs.  If you purchase an entire 4 top table for a full weekend, you own that table for the entire festival weekend and can decorate it as you like.   Please tell ballroom staff if you want your things to remain on table session to session. The 4 Topper at the back in front of Bar are HI TOPPERS and sit Elevated to look over the rest of audience. 

2 Seat Hi Topper Tables
The tables that sit on the ballroom edge on both sides alongside the French doors are 2 seaters and are Hi Toppers with full ocean view, lifted to see the stage over the rest of audience. 

Did I hear there’s a bar inside the festival with a TV for baseball play-offs and football games?

You heard correctly.
On the Mezzanine  l floor below the ballroom where the restrooms are and the JazzTrax Store is the Marine Room Bar.  A TV is always on there primarily to watch the Major League Baseball Play-offs although this year the regular season will end on the first weekend of JazzTrax.

Baseball takes first priority, but if there is no baseball play-off game, NFL football will be on this TV.   Sometimes we have 2 TV’s so baseball AND football can be on at the same time.   This prevents fanatics from having to watch from their hotel rooms or in town bars and miss concerts. 

Are the artists cd’s sold?
Is there festival merchandise like t-shirts, caps, coffee mugs, posters?

The JazzTrax Store on the Casino Mezzanine sells the current CD of all 40 Stars of Smooth Jazz performing during October’s 3 weekend JazzTrax Festival AND many other of the Top Brand New CD’s released this year.

Festival Merchandise is also sold here from T’s long sleave and short, to the official festival poster, and likely festival cpas and coffee mugs and possibly polo shirts too.  At this time festival merchandise is only sold at the festival and not on-line.    Almost all, if not all the peeforming Artists come down to the Autograph Counter next to the JazzTrax Store to sign your copy of the CD immediately after performance.  We actually HOLD the last boat of the night on Saturdays and Sundays to give final artist time to sign and still be on that last boat.  It doesn’t depart Until we KNOW the closing artist and their band is on board. Friday Night’s Closing Band and Thursday Night Unplugged Artists have to stay on the Island overnight.

Where in Avalon is the actual festival held?

Thursday Nights Unplugged Concerts are now held right alongside The ocean at Descanso Beach in an intimate 500 seat beach venue outdoors.

Friday, Saturday, Sunday Concerts are all in the Avalon Ballroom in the historic 1929 Casino William Wrigley built at Ocean’s Edge.

Saturday Night’s After Party is at Descanso Beach.

What should I be aware of?

Drinking and driving a golf cart.   All California Laws Apply.
Festival Goers have been arrested for drunk driving in a golf cart.
Carrying open containers on Avalon streets.   That also makes you subject to arrest.     
Do not carry open alcohol containers on any Avalon street Or beach.

Having too much fun!

Any More Questions?



25th Annual
Catalina Island
JazzTrax Festival
Since 1987
• Most Asked


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