The 14th ‘Thin Man’ Watts Jazz Fest which honors DeLand native and renowned saxophonist Dr. Noble Watts, was held Feb. 11 in DeLand.

An annual event in Downtown DeLand, the Jazz Fest commemorates the life and legacy of renowned saxophonist Dr. Noble “Thin Man” Watts. The mission of the festival, in addition to fundraising for its three beneficiaries, is to unite the community in a shared appreciation of music and of DeLand’s jazz and gospel heritage.

All proceeds from the “Thin Man” Watts Jazz Fest are given to the African American Museum of the Arts in DeLand, the MainStreet DeLand Association, and the Watts-Greenlee music scholarship at Daytona State College.

The 2023 Jazz Fest signature artwork, inspired by a photograph of Noble Watts taken by Danny Sorensen, was developed by David Swanberg and Stephanie Mullins, staff members of the West Volusia Tourism Advertising Authority and the MainStreet DeLand Association. The image was featured on this year’s souvenir posters and T-shirts.

All photos taken by Beacon photographer Marsha McLaughlin


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