The 15th anniversary of the Sylvan Lake jazz festival, Jazz at the Lake, is right around the corner.
After a two year mini hiatus, where the festival was paired down to a concert series, the festival will be returning full force Aug. 17-20.
Eric Allison said the previous board grew a little tired over the years, causing the festival’s turn to a concert series for the past two years.
“We have a new board and we are excited and voted entirely in favour of returning to the full festival,” Allison explained in a recent phone interview.
For the 15th anniversary of the festival, Allison says there will be a mix of new and old events as well as some slight changes to come classics.
For instance, the tried-and-true swing dance will be held on Sunday afternoon, rather then the traditional Thursday evening.
“We thought it would work well to have it Sunday afternoon, before what we used to call the pub crawl,” explained Allison.
The pub crawl is a bit different this year as well. For starters it has been renamed to Pubs and Clubs to be a little more politically correct.
The second difference is the time frame. In the past this event of the festival had each musical act starting at different times at different pubs on Lakeshore Drive.
This year the event will have the entertainment, provided by four live jazz bands, starting at the same time. The music will be going from 5-9 p.m. the last day of the festival at four different pubs.
“We though people could come and go as they like and it wouldn’t be one mass exodus when a new group is starting at the next pub,” said Allison.
Music will be performed at Fireside Restaurant & Lounge, Viva La Sirena, 4903 Lakeshore Pete’s At The Beach and Bravo Gastro Lounge, all of which are within walking distance from one another.
The festival will also include many other favourite events such as the Blues Bash, the concert sing-a-long, jazz in the park and concerts each night.
This year the festival will also include a clinic and lecture for the jazz aficionados, both on Friday afternoon.
Allison himself will be providing a lecture title “Dizzy Gillespie at 100—The Bebop Revolution Continues” at noon.
Following him, trumpeter Jon Faddis will be providing a brass clinic.
“Most of our events are actually free. We only have four ticketed events,” said Allison. “This way families can enjoy the experience as well.”
Fifteen years of live jazz music is a testament to the history of Sylvan Lake, according to Allison.
The community was once a hub of live music and boasted three music and dance halls.
Having a festival like this, that brings together as many types of jazz music as possible, harken back to those days.
“I think people like this festival because it reminds them of days when this was normal for Sylvan Lake,” Allison said.
Of course the festival would not be what it is today without the sponsors and volunteers who come together each year to make it happen.
“Our sponsor are crucial to our success. And our volunteers are just amazing.”
Jazz on the Lake takes place over the course of a weekend from Aug. 17-20. Headliners for the event include Jon Faddis, Cheryl Fisher, Jack Semple and Jonny Summers.
Tickets for each concert are currently available.
Tickets for the “Blues Bash” with the Jack Semple Band is $25 each. Jon Faddis in Concert and Cheryl Fisher in Concert are $35 each for tickets. The Swing Dance with the Johnny Summers Little Big Band is $25 per ticket.
Those looking to attend all four ticketed events can purchase the Jazzy Pass for $100 and save $20 on tickets.
“We are really excited for our line up this year. We have some really great headliners.”
A full schedule and more information about the festival can be found at www.jazzatthelake.com