With over 850,000 residents, Jacksonville is Florida’s largest city by population, as well as the largest city, by area, in the contiguous United States. Centered on the banks of the St. Johns River, some 25 miles south of the Georgia state line, the greater Jacksonville metropolitan area has a population of approximately 1,350,000 people. The locale was originally inhabited by the Timucua people, and, in 1564, it was the site of the French colony of Fort Caroline, one of the earliest European settlements in what is now the continental United States.
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In 1822, a year after the U.S. gained Florida from Spain, a town was established that was named after Andrew Jackson, the first military governor of the Florida Territory and the seventh President of the United States. Since the late 19th century, harbor improvements made Jacksonville a major military and civilian deep-water port, and two United States Navy bases were built nearby. Today, the local economy is supported by banking, insurance, healthcare, logistics, and tourism.
Jacksonville is considered the birthplace of Southern rock and has a strong tradition of jazz, blues, and classical music, as well. In the 1930s, the LaVilla neighborhood in the northern part of Jacksonville’s downtown was known as “Harlem of the South.” Many famous Afro-American musicians performed at the Ritz Theatre, which opened in 1929, and the Knights of Pythias Hall. Among them were Cab Calloway, Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, and Louis “Satchmo” Armstrong. Ray Charles played piano at the Ritz for a year, before moving on to fame and fortune.
Jacksonville native, Pat Boone, was a popular 1950s singer and teen idol. During the 1960s, the Classics IV was the most successful pop rock band from Jacksonville. The Southern rock sound was defined the Allman Brothers Band which formed in Jacksonville in 1969, and was further personified by Lynyrd Skynyrd in the 1970s. The next local group to achieve national success was the nu metal band, Limp Bizkit. In the 1990s, popular hip hop acts included 95 South, 69 Boyz, and the Quad City DJ's. The bands Inspection 12, Cold, and Yellowcard were also well known and had a large following. Following the millennium, Fit For Rivals, Burn Season, Evergreen Terrace, Shinedown, The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, and Black Kids became notable bands from the city.
The Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra, founded in 1949, is one of the nation’s top ensembles. It performs the majority of its programs in the Robert E. Jacoby Symphony Hall - the only true orchestra concert hall in Florida - at the Times-Union Center for the Performing Arts. The Times-Union center also hosts classical, opera, gospel, big band, ballet, and the Ritz Chamber Players, the nation’s first African-American chamber music ensemble. Founded in 1993, the Jacksonville Symphony Youth Orchestra enrolls more than 270 young musicians between the ages of 7 and 22, who are admitted through competitive auditions.
Other Jacksonville music venues include: the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena; the historic Florida Theater (where Elvis performed one of his first indoor concerts); the Elbow, a collection of bars, event spaces, restaurants, art galleries, shops, and clubs located in the heart of downtown; Jacksonville Landing, on the banks of the St. Johns River; the 1904 Music Hall; and the nearby Ponte Vedra Concert Hall, which hosts classical, rock, folk, and pop performances.
Some annual Jacksonville music festivals are: the Great Atlantic Seafood & Music Festival (March); the Jacksonville Springing the Blues Festival (April); Monster Energy's Welcome to Rockville Festival (April); the Jacksonville Jazz Festival (May); the Florida Country Superfest (June); and the Jacksonville Beach Summer Jazz Series (June & July).
Music festivals give many lesser-known bands the opportunity to perform for, and possibly gain, new fans. Key to a band’s growth is the dissemination of their self-recorded albums on CD. Bison Disc helps these bands grow by duplicating and replicating their CDs, and then packaging them in attractive, affordable, and custom-designed Jewel cases, Wallets, Sleeve, Jackets, and Digipaks.
For more than 100 years, Jacksonville has played an important role in America's film history. In the early 20th century, before Hollywood, the motion picture industry was based in New York City. In need of a winter headquarters, moviemakers were attracted to Jacksonville due to its warm climate, exotic locations, excellent rail access, and cheap labor, earning the city the title of "The Winter Film Capital of the World."
New York-based Kalem Studios was the first to open a permanent studio in Jacksonville in 1908. Over the course of the next decade, more than 30 silent film companies established studios in town. Comedic actor and Georgia native Oliver "Babe" Hardy, of the famed comic duo Laurel and Hardy, began his motion picture career there in 1913. In 1915, Joseph Engel started Metro Pictures in Jacksonville. His company later merged with another production company and became forever known as Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, or MGM. The first motion picture made in Technicolor and the first feature-length color movie produced in the United States, The Gulf Between, was also filmed on location in Jacksonville in 1917.
The Winter Film Capital of the World also made significant progress in the African-American film industry. One noteworthy silent film studio was operated by producer Richard Norman, whose visionary pictures created positive, lead roles for African-American actors, a stark contrast to the standards of the time. He also and employed African-Americans in the production side of the film industry.
Jacksonville’s film production dwindled as filmmakers moved west, and it wasn’t until many years later that major Hollywood productions utilized the Jacksonville area as movie location. Some well-known films shot in and around Jacksonville include: the classic horror movie Creature from the Black Lagoon; Cool Hand Luke, starring Paul Newman; G. I. Jane starring Demi Moore and directed by Ridley Scott; The Devil's Advocate starring Al Pacino and Keanu Reeves; Tigerland starring Colin Farrell; Lonely Hearts, starring John Travolta; the 2004 remake of The Manchurian Candidate, starring Denzel Washington; and HBO’s Recount, starring Kevin Spacey.
The Jacksonville Film Festival is held every year. Founded in 2002, the festival screens dozens of the hundreds of films submitted for its consideration. The first film shown at the Festival was The Flying Ace, made in Jacksonville in 1926 by the Norman Studios. It had been recently restored by the Library of Congress Motion Picture Conservation Center and had not been seen in 75-years. It was warmly received at a packed house at the historic Ritz Theatre.
Bison Disc is warmly received by the many filmmakers who come to us to duplicate and replicate their films on DVD and Blu-ray disc. We also present and package their work in customized Jewel cases, Wallets, Sleeves, Jackets, and Digipaks. For the long-term storage of their films, we also offer a wide variety of attractive and durable box and collector sets.
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