You know how when you say to yourself "okay, self, this time you're REALLY gonna write blog posts every week" and then suddenly it's two weeks before the Festival and a whole lotta time has gone by since your last post?
Somehow, the Festival is only two weeks away. To say the past few weeks have been hectic would be an understatement. It's always amazing to me how 98% of the booking happens relatively quickly and painlessly...and then the remaining 2% can be dragged out for weeks. Part of the delay can sometimes be curatorial - waiting for one band to slot in so that I can build a schedule around that band which makes sense musically - but this year for some reason we encountered a fair bit of runaround on the agent/manager negotiation standpoint. Specifically:
- Two different artists confirmed, only to then back out for one reason or another.
- Two other artists, after telling us exactly what they needed to make it happen, and after our having offered exactly what they asked for, realized they weren't available for the dates after all.
- And two other artists told us exactly what they needed, only to change their mind and decide they needed a whole lot more after we offered them exactly what they had originally asked for.
So, you know, fun. (If I may be permitted one mini-rant here: agents - talk to the managers before telling us a band is available. Managers - talk to you artist before telling your agent that the act is available. And maybe don't claim to be available if there are, like, child custody issues at play, or possible awards show appearances lined up, or possible documentary filmings which may conflict...NOT THAT ANY OF THAT HAPPENED TO US THIS YEAR...)
In any case - I'm pretty excited about the lineup overall. Over 150 free concerts, plus educational initiatives like the Big Band Slam, Youth Jazz Showcase and, new this year, the Jazz Musician Intensive. Plus 20 or so ticketed concerts and, for the first time, a co-curated series at The Rex Hotel. The full lineup is available online; easiest perhaps to check the daily listings. You're sure to find something you like, and hopefully you'll make a discovery or two.
Over the next two weeks I'm going to do my best to write about as many of the acts as I can, even if briefly. Many will be familiar to you - we're proud to have so many local and Canadian artists on stage with us this year - but we've got some great performers, from at home and abroad, making their Festival debut this year, and it would be a treat to have you in the audience to cheer them on.