Fort Langley Jazz Festival in 2019. (Black Press Media files)

Fort Langley Jazz Festival in 2019. (Black Press Media files)

Fort Langley Jazz Festival will host Christmas big band concert and dance

A community concert will see the community swing in December, thanks to a regional grant

A Christmas big band jazz concert and dance will be funded thanks to a $10,000 grant from Metro Vancouver to the Fort Langley Jazz and Arts Festival.

The annual festival is back starting on Thursday, Sept. 2 for four days of music and art, but this year there will be a holiday encore, executive director Karen Zukas said.

“We’re really excited about it,” Zukas said.

The exact date in December has yet to be determined, but the plan is to host two linked events.

The first will be a free big band jazz concert during the afternoon.

Then in the evening, there will be a second concert, this one for people coming to dance. That event will require tickets.

Both are to take place at the Fort Langley Community Hall, which dates back to the era when big bands and swing dancing were in style.

“We think this is going to be a very popular event,” Zukas said.

The band chosen will be announced soon.

The grant application to Metro Vancouver is a first for the Fort Langley Jazz and Arts Festival, as well as the first major event to be held outside of the traditional late-summer festival.

Metro Vancouver is doubling its annual arts grant this year by using some of its provincial Safe Restart funding.

“We saw record-setting demand for cultural grants in 2021, both in terms of the number of applications and how much funding was being requested,” said Sav Dhaliwal, chair of the Metro Vancouver board of directors. “Being able to award an additional $150,000 will help promote employment within creative sectors and enhance exposure to some of the most vibrant and artistic minds in our region.”

This year, Metro Vancouver received 106 applications from organizations seeking a total of $768,011 in funding for proposed projects. By comparison, in 2020, 54 applicants sought $377,230 in funding and 29 organizations shared $140,000 in grants.

This year, with so many arts and cultural groups hurting as a result of the pandemic, there was an “unprecedented” number of grant applications, said Lisa Muri, chair of Metro Vancouver’s Regional Culture Committee.

Groups were judged on the strength of their applications and their ability to have a regional impact.

“We were happy to be able to support the jazz festival,” said Muri, who said she might be able to make it out for one night of the event.

The main festival begins on Thursday, Sept. 2, and will feature performers including Kyprios, Kenny Blues Boss Wayne, Brandon Isaak, Jim Byrnes, the David Restio Trio, Vince Mai Band, and Big City Soul. Music will be centered around jazz but will include hip hop, blues, and R&B.

The four days will include free outdoor performances on Saturday, Sept. 4 in front of the Fort Langley Community Hall and live-streamed and in-person ticketed shows each evening.

READ MORE: Headliners announced for September’s Fort Langley Jazz and Arts Festival

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