Any day in the lovely town of Duck is going to be a great day. A charming little village that is replete with an abundance of restaurants that range from family friendly and casual, to fine dining. Couple that with all of the cool little shops that literally offer something for everyone and it’s internationally famous sunsets, you have one of the most desirable vacation destinations in the country.

All year long, music of every type can be heard in Duck, presented by the town itself via its monthly “Concerts on the Green” during the season and by local restaurants like Red Sky and Aqua. Then, every year on Columbus Day weekend, the town — in conjunction with PNC and a host of local sponsors — presents the  Duck Jazz Festival. I am a firm believer that a thing of quality that’s free is pretty cool. When that is quality music, I’m even happier. In its history, the quality of the  jazz festival’s performers never disappoint and it not’s likely to change this year. This year, in support of North Carolina’s Year of Music, many of the performers hail from North Carolina or pay tribute to NC artists. 

Being a musician myself, I know that the musicians who perform at the level of those at Duck’s jazz fest are grateful for the accolades they are sure to receive. The show’s sponsors are making sure you get to hear some of the best local and regional acts available. I should also mention that it’s admirable that the OBX community, at large, has supported the Jazz Festival and by attending, kept it going all these years. Duck, the sponsors and especially the attendees, are to be commended.

Because — in case I didn't mention this already — it’s free.

Christian Legner, Duck’s director of public information, marketing & special events filled me in on the highlights of this year’s event.


Before the festival even officially begins on Saturday, the town of Duck offers “pre-festival” events.

On Thursday, Oct. 10, there’s a “Story Time/Rhythm Play” at 10 a.m., which gets the kids involved. Jazz-themed books, music, and crafts are part of this free program.

Later in the evening, the Sunset Movie on the Green will be  “A Bug’s Life.” The soundtrack features the jazz-inspired music composed by Randy Newman.

 One of the really cool aspects of this festival is that our own OBX student musicians are given the chance to show off their skills. The students participate in a workshop for Dare County music students on Friday, Oct. 11. This year’s workshop is being led by festival performer Caroline Davis.

Following is the 2019 Jazz Festival schedule of performances:


  • 4-6 p.m.: Andrew Sanchez & His Hip Six. The Community Concert on the Green features Outer Banks native Andrew Sanchez opening the festival with his band, putting their own spin on New Orleans flavored jazz. After the show, festival musicians can be found at The Blue Point restaurant engaging in an informal jam session


Gates open at 10 a.m. for this free, non-ticketed festival in the Duck Town Park. That gives you an hour to carve out a slice of real estate  and prepare for a full day of live music that’s presented on two stages. 


  • 11 a.m.: Sidecar Social Club
  • 1 p.m.:  Caroline Davis
  • 2:45 p.m.:  Benny Green Trio
  • 5 p.m.: Leroy Jones Quintet



  • Noon: Triangle Youth Jazz Ensemble
  • 2 p.m.: First Flight High School Honors Jazz Band
  • 4 p.m.: Andrew Sanchez interactive

At the amphitheater location, attendees can chat with performers after their sets, get autographs, and purchase band merchandise

 Just as last year, the Town will be selling concessions, such as bottled water and soda. The food vendors are Aqua Restaurant, Duck Pizza, Sunset Grille, Treehouse Coffee Co., and OBX Frozen Yogurt.

The festival would not be possible without the committed volunteers that donate their time and effort. If you’d like to join their ranks, job descriptions and sign-up instructions can be found at or under the Festival Info tab at

2019’s Duck Jazz Festival is not only brought to us by PNC, but also with grant funding from the North Carolina Arts Council, and the Outer Banks Visitors Bureau. You can continue the experience throughout the week by visiting the Events Around Town tab at

Now that you know, it’s time to do your part, head out to Duck, explore it’s charms, then get in the groove, and soak up some great music.


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