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Intimate venues to host concerts in qathet region

Townsite Jazz Festival lineup includes jazz giants
Vancouver band Mimosa will be one of the featured performers at this year’s Townsite Jazz Festival, including an April 12 Jazz and Appy fundraiser at Brooks Hall and an afternoon concert on April 13 at the Blue Room.

Townsite Jazz Festival is gearing up for its most vibrant edition yet, promising a symphony of jazz music that will echo through the neighbourhood from April 11 to 14. This year's festival features a star-studded lineup of Canadian jazz luminaries alongside international talents.

Since its inception in 2018, the festival, dreamed up by Paul Cummings, with support from Andy Rice, has provided an immersive experience that weaves the rich tapestry of jazz with the unique character of the area.

With venues ranging from the 400-seat Max Cameron Theatre to the cozy confines of the Shinglemill Pub, each performance is tailored to provide a one-of-a-kind experience that resonates with the soulful essence of jazz.

This year, the festival introduces the Blue Room, a masonic lodge turned jazz club, adding another layer to its diverse venue portfolio.

“Since the very beginning, Paul’s always put special care into pairing the right artists with the right venue,” says Rice. “The biggest rooms aren’t necessarily saved for the best-known artists, either. Sometimes it’s about creating those pinch-me moments where everyone there is just shaking their heads knowing how lucky they are to be watching so-and-so play their heart out for 60 people.”

A standout feature of the festival is the dynamic lineup of artists who perform in varied configurations, allowing audiences to witness multifaceted prowess in different settings.

Canadian jazz all-stars Phil Dwyer, PJ Perry and Brad Turner will headline the festival, along with the Cory Weeds Quartet, featuring New York City organist/pianist Brian Charette. The festival will also spotlight intimate performances by the Duncan Symonds Band, Mimosa, and the Karen Graves Quartet, promising a diverse musical journey for jazz fans and first-timers.

In a first for the festival, the Ken Lister Trio is slated to perform on Lasqueti Island on April 14, adding an adventurous twist to the jazz-filled weekend. Local talents, including Walter Martella, Paul Carriere, Aaron Schweitzer and the qathet School District Alumni Jazz Choir, are also set to dazzle, ensuring the spotlight shines brightly on the burgeoning jazz scene.

Festival-goers can look forward to kicking off the festivities with Martella and Carriere at the Shinglemill on April 11, followed by a series of performances leading up to the grand finale on Lasqueti.

Beyond the concerts, the festival plays a pivotal role in nurturing the next generation of musicians. Through master classes, clinics and performance opportunities, young artists gain invaluable exposure to the world of professional jazz. Organizers will also be directing proceeds from a Jazz and Appys event on April 12 toward the Brooks Secondary School music program.

For those yet to experience the magic of the festival, Rice says the event offers a gateway into the world of jazz and beyond.

“It's an invitation to explore the depth of musical expression, connect with the community, and support the invaluable learning opportunities it provides young musicians,” he adds. “The festival is not just a series of performances; it's a journey through the heart of music, history and heritage.

“With live jazz music, you’re watching somebody think on their feet and problem-solve right in front of you—it’s fascinating. You don't get that with every genre of music, where things are a little more premeditated. It's fun to watch people sweat a little bit as they're playing and taking risks.”

Highlighting bands such as Wunderbread, which features danceable disco classics played by seasoned jazz musicians, and Mimosa's bilingual cabaret with Parisian café vibes, Townsite Jazz Festival offers something for everyone. From R&B-inspired acts such as the Hub City Rollers to singer-saxophonist Karen Graves, the festival is an inviting platform for newcomers and aficionados alike.

Tickets are available online via Eventbrite or at