Performers excited to be back at Saskatchewan Jazz Festival
After two years without a full-scale event, the Saskatchewan Jazz Festival is officially underway and artists are looking forward to performing live again.
“I’m quite excited actually,” Dave Nelson, a member of the Dave Nelson Quartet told CTV News.
“It’s been two years since we have been able to show our skills and communicate to an audience.”
Nelson will be taking the stage at Victoria Park on Saturday with his band then sticking around to play with the Oral Fuentes Reggae Band. His band didn’t play in the past two Jazz Festivals, which were impacted due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, he said he played at every other one since 1988.
“It means a lot to be back,” he said. “I think it very definitely brings the city together.”
Saskatchewan Jazz Festival executive director Shannon Josdal shared Nelson’s enthusiasm.
“Everything old is new again, and we’re really excited about a new and fresh lineup,” Josdal said.
In total, there are over 60 concerts at various locations in the city, featuring more than 100 individual artists. Josdal said they are expecting roughly 75,000 people to attend the event between all the venues.
Some of the Festival's lineup includes Arkells with Mighty & Shawnee Kish, Patti Labelle, Bahamas with Ruby Waters and the Strumbellas.
“This is day three and we’re already having a fantastic time. Crowds have been great,” Josdal said.
Artists are playing at several location throughout the city including Bessborough Gardens, Victoria Park, Second Avenue Stage, the Broadway Theatre, KW Nasser Plaza and The Bassment and Amigos Cantina.
“We’re always excited to be part of the Jazz Festival, it’s a great festival and to be included is quite an honour,” Amigos Cantina manager Jim Clarke said.
The tavern is hosting a five shows throughout the eight-day event. For Clarke it provides his business with publicity, and he says also creates a buzz around town.
“Things are lightning up and people are getting out and it’s really quite exciting.”
This year marks the Festival’s 35th anniversary.
It runs from June 20 until July 7.