Organizers of this year’s jazz fest are psyched to be presenting 30 free shows across four outdoor stages, as part of the event that engulfs the village of Fort Langley each summer.
That will be in addition to a host of other free programming and ticketed shows that make up the four-day Fort Langley Jazz & Arts Festival, which this year is on the calendar for July 20 to 23.
With attendance surpassing 15,000 people last year, festival organizers have been worked tirelessly to ensure the 2023 rendition of the festival has an even broader appeal and a wide array of performances, art and cultural activities, said co-founder and executive director Karen Zukas.
The festival will feature an exciting and eclectic celebration of jazz, music, art and culture, explained co-founder and artistic director Dave Quinn.
“Tailing the heels of our biggest festival to date in 2022, this year’s free musical performances and immersive activities are once again going to blow your socks off,” said Quinn. “We are so excited to get things swinging.”
Local bands, such as Two Much Guitars with Oliver Gannon and Bill Coon; Raagaverse, a collaborative Indo-Jazz fusion quartet; and Jasmine Jazz, which blends jazz with traditional Chinese music will perform alongside national artists like two-time Juno jazz vocalist, Kaity Gyorgy, 2020 Juno award winner, Celeigh Cardinal and the high-energy nine-piece group, Apollo Suns that combine instrumental, jazz, rock and psychedelic music.
The festival will also feature artists and bands from around the world, including Gabriel Palatchi Trio, an Argentinian pianist and composer.
“It’s our most diverse line-up yet that spans cultures, genres and borders with extraordinary local, regional, national, and international musicians performing across four outdoor stages,” said Quinn.
“It’s a small-town community festival with a world-class vibe, like no other.”
In addition to the free musical lineup, this year’s festival also has a diverse range of art and cultural activities for all age groups and interests.
Festival goers can experience an Indigenous art and cultural exhibition featuring workshops, pow wow singers, drummers, and dancers, and Indigenous-led bands.
Kids can enjoy creating harmonicas and participating in a drum circle workshop at the kid zone, while the art zone provides opportunities for art workshops and fun activities, said Quinn.
“With fantastic music, art, and cultural activities throughout the village, the festival promises to be a unique experience that celebrates the power of music and art to unite cultures and communities,” he added.
And, Quinn is convinced the festival wouldn’t be the same without the popular ticketed blues show, Cools Blues Show, that will be take place on July 21 and 22, from 4:30 to 10 p.m. at the Fort Community Park and the free community performances that have become mainstays of the event:
• The festival kicks off Thursday afternoon with a free community concert inside the Fort Langley Community Hall, with Echoes of the Big Band Era featuring the Dal Richards Orchestra. Dal Richards was a mainstay of the big band orchestra era in Vancouver for many years. This concert is expected to draw a big crowd, so make sure to register, as there will be limited seating available.
• Launching the weekend’s incredible free festivities will be a crowd-favourite, the New Orleans-style Mardi Gras strolling parade on Saturday morning, July 22. After making its way from the Fort Langley Farmers Market to the community hall main stage, the festival’s official opening ceremony will take place. The strolling parade will feature two high energy New Orleans-style bands: RazzMaJazz Ensemble and Noxious Obs Society Band. Attendees are encouraged to dress in your best Mardi Gras attire and to arrive at 9:30 a.m.
• Sunday’s Jazz AWE (alternative worship experience) gives a musical twist to the Sunday church experience. Live jazz music is woven into readings, reflection and conversations. Hosted by Rev. Sophia Ducey, this year’s Jazz AWE features the Circle of Voices Gospel Group, with the incredible vocals of BC Entertainment Hall of Fame Star, Candus Churchill, Leora Cashe, Joseph Chappel and Will Sanders with Jaye Krebs on piano. Register here.
For information and to view the full lineup, people can visit https://www.fortlangleyjazzfest.com/