The 2012 Saskatchewan Jazz Festival opens this Friday, June 22, with 130 performances spread over 10 days. CBC Music asked festival manager Kevin Tobin to sketch out an overview.
There are so many world-class artists performing at the festival that it's hard to pick just one. There is really something for everyone. However, if I have to, I am really looking forward to seeing Feist. Her live shows have gotten so good, and I think this is one of those shows people will be talking about after the festival is over.
There are a few things that set us apart. 1. We have some of the most dedicated and energetic volunteers you could ask for, and they are great ambassadors not only for the event but the province. 2. We attract between 75,000 and 80,000 people in a relatively small population. 3. Our world-class programming, production and marketing. 4. Our local and provincial artists are some of the best in the country. 5. The passion and loyalty of attendees and our shareholders.
The quality of the music on the free stages is the best-kept secret, however we have seen a big change over the last few years. For the 2012 festival we are moving the main free stage to Friendship Park (between the Broadway and Victoria bridges in Saskatoon), which will allow us to improve our production, staging, marketplace and capacity. We expect and hope that "best-kept secret" will be a thing of the past.
Come for the festival, stay for the opportunities
I’m not originally from Saskatchewan. My original plan was to spend a few years in Saskatoon, gain some experience, and then move on to a larger city where I thought I would have more opportunities. I’m glad I was wrong. Two years turned into five years and then into 12 years, and I can say that Saskatoon has provided me with more opportunities to do what I love and I could not imagine being anywhere else.
From the memory banks
Joni Mitchell was in town for her exhibition at the Mendel (I believe in 2000). She was staying at the hotel and after working out in the hotel gym, she went through the gym doors, which leads out to the Bessborough Gardens where we had a show going on. My understanding of the story is that after half-an-hour of her sitting there, a volunteer, who did not recognize her, went up and asked to see her ticket to which she explained she did not have one. The volunteer kicked her out of the venue. As much as we dig Joni, that one still makes us laugh.
• CBC Music's 2012 festival guide
• SPF '12: Summer preview of jazz and world music festivals
• Kellylee Evans live at the 2011 Saskatchewan Jazz Festival
on Jun 18, 2012