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Canada’s first virtual Jazz Festival is in the books. 28 straight days of performances which started on International Jazz Day, April 30. What an amazing experience we had with so many incredible performances and conversations that will continue to entertain and inform jazz fans for years to come. View archived live streams

Here are some quick highlights: 

  • The first major festival in Canada to come out with large-scale programming meant to help artists.
  • Education – For many of the artists, it was their first time online – many thanked us for showing them how to do it, and setting them up to do more in the future.
  • Brought real human stories about these artists in a positive way at a time it was most needed.
  • Supported artists both financially and with visibility at a very challenging time.
  • Supported community and businesses through our social media.

Some quick stats:

  • 29 Livestream episodes broadcast from April 30th – May 27, 2020
  • 19 Educational Videos created (17 by Calgarians)
  • Youngest participant – 14 years old, Oldest participant 84 Years old
  • Artist Participation Stats
    • 84 Artists paid for their work
    • 58 Musicians either from Calgary or residing in Calgary took Part
    • 17 JUNO-nominated or JUNO-winning artists took part
    • 1 Polaris Prize finalist
    • 1 Grammy winner
  • 50% of paid Livestream featured artists were Women
  • Broadcast live every night to 6 different online platforms
  • 100,000+ views on the festival online to date

There are many people to thank and we discovered that each episode typically required 20-25 hours of work by our team to prepare for the live broadcast. I would like to thank our Board of Directors for their courage and vision to do something no other jazz society has done before which both helped the jazz community continue to be relevant and explore new digital opportunities for growth. I also want to thank our production team for their long hours and passionate work over 6 busy weeks. Kodi Hutchinson (Artistic Producer), Lucy Pasternak (Operations Coordinator), Sam Hindle (Technical Coordinator), Jason Valleau (Technical Consultant), Ty Bohnet (Website), Angela Wrigley (Social Media), Bob Acton (Volunteer Coordinator) and the many volunteers who supported the entire series. I also want to thank the JazzYYC Executive Committee which was immediately supportive and engaged as we put the series together and managed every detail from consultation with our sponsors and grant organizations to the administration of contracts and payment. I am so proud of our team and honoured to work with everyone. 

I also want to especially thank our many festival partners including TD Canada, Tim Tamashiro, and Jazz Home Delivery, Canadian Heritage, CKUA Radio Network, Alberta Foundation for the Arts, The City of Calgary, Calgary Public Library, CADME, Calgary Arts Development, Studio Bell – NMC, Inglewood BIA, Arts Commons, Decidedly Jazz Danceworks, the Coalition for Music Education (Music Monday) and the Music Mile. 

If you haven’t checked out the full live series and education video please go here for them.

Unfortunately, there will be no summer festival in June but stay tuned as JazzYYC prepares for the fall season. Lots of exciting performance opportunities will be available hopefully in both live and digital formats. Stay safe and keep on swinging.

Gerry Hebert
President – JazzYYC
Calgary’s Jazz Collaborative 

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