What Makes Jacksonville The Birthplace of Southern Rock?

Sweet Home… Jacksonville?

Jacksonville has been the birthplace of many individuals and bands in the music industry.  However, Jacksonville might best be known as the "Birthplace of Southern Rock," a genre with roots of blues, jazz, soul, R&B and rock and roll.

Lynyrd Skynyrd and The Allman Brothers Band

Two of Southern Rock’s architects, Lynyrd Skynyrd and The Allman Brothers Band were formed in Jacksonville, paving the way for other Southern Rock bands, including local bands .38 Special, Molly Hatchet and JJ Grey & Mofro.

Famous Musicians from Jacksonville, FL


Native sons Ronnie Van Zant, Allen Collins, Gary Rossington, Larry Junstrom and Bob Burns formed Lynyrd Skynyrd in 1964.  The inspiration for the band’s name came from former gym teacher of two of the band members at Westside Jacksonville’s Robert E. Lee High School named Leonard Skinner who gave the members a hard time for their long hair.  At the height of the band’s dominance after hits like "Sweet Home Alabama" and “Free Bird,” a devastating plane crash in 1977 prematurely ended the lives of three band members: Van Zant, Steve Gaines and Cassie Gaines. 


Today, Jacksonville is home to numerous music festivals throughout the year.  Two of the most anticipated events of the year, George’s Music Springing the Blues, held annually at the beach in April and the Jacksonville Jazz Festival, held each Memorial Day weekend, provide an outlet for local and world-renowned musicians. The Jacksonville Jazz Festival has drawn the likes of Chuck Mangione, Patti LaBelle and Chris Botti.

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