Stop crying because your Fourth of July was on a Wednesday. Just stop already.
Honestly, that wasn’t your last opportunity to watch fireworks with Ray Charles’ rendition of “America The Beautiful” blaring in the background. And if you’re like me, you just saw some awesome Golden Gate Bridge fireworks anyways.
What you should be doing is getting pumped for this weekend’s fete-du-San-Francisco: Fillmore Jazz Festival.
And before you wrinkle up your nose and try to protest that you don’t like jazz music, cool your melons and listen: You don’t have to like department store bebop to go to Fillmore Jazz, because there’s food and drink and vendors and genuinely amazing music that encompasses all the many jazz styles, so there’s always something anyone can enjoy.
Yes, I am biased. Because my friend Ryan and I go every year and have an absolute ball. We listened to a parlor crooner with the voice of an angel sing outside a bookstore for close to half an hour. And anywhere outside that allows you to dance and drink and enjoy good tunes equals a good time in my book.
The festival spans from Eddy Street to Jackson — the prettiest and most hoity-toity eight blocks of Fillmore Street — starting at Yoshi’s and spanning uphill just before the street spills over into the Marina District. Stages pepper the sidewalks, while some acts post up inside bars.
The center of the street is filled with food and bev stands (though I recommend saving your dough by packing your own snacks and white wine mojitos) alongside all sorts of local vendors who want you to throw down some cheddar for their homemade/glass-blown/hand-sewn trinkets and such.
Fillmore Jazz first launched in 1985, celebrating the neighborhood’s history of hosting the best jazz acts in the business. The festival gathers some 90,000 visitors over its two-day span, but to be quite frank, it doesn’t ever feel the crowded.
That’s maybe my favorite part; it doesn’t feel so elbow-to-elbow crowded like the Chinese New Year parade or so many other SF extravaganzas. There’s actual breathing room!
And to top it off, the Fillmore Jazz Festival is always on Fourth of July weekend. So keep it mind before you start complaining about next year’s Independence Day being mid-week again.