The SaskTel Saskatchewan Jazz Festival is celebrating their 30th anniversary and when you consider that this year alone, there are over 140+ ticketed and free shows, you bet the Festival has brought a lot of music to this city over the years! To celebrate, we're sharing our favourite JazzFest memories with you and we want to hear yours. Tell us your favourite show or JazzFest moment via the blog comments, on our Facebook page, or on our Instagram feed, and you'll be entered to win tickets to July 3rd's City And Colour show, courtesy SaskTel Saskatchewan Jazz Festival.
Before we get to the contest, here's the JazzFest moments a few of us here at OCM most fondly recall.
My favourite JazzFest memory is when John Legend performed at the Bessborough outdoor stage in June 2014. It was a few days after my husband and I's wedding. Our wedding song was Legend's 'All of Me' and it was so surreal to see him perform it live. The song sounded even better in person. It was a rainy evening but that only made the show more memorable. Everyone was cuddled up under umbrellas. We left on our honeymoon to Hawaii the next day and we were still on a high from our big day and the concert. I will never forget it.
Ben Harper & Charlie Musselwhite in the rain is my favourite JazzFest moment. Ben Harper has always been one of my all-time favourites so his blues performance, playing the slide guitar and Charlie on the harmonica, it was my absolute favourite music show at JazzFest by far.
I have been a huge blues fan since I was about 7 years old & hearing the slide guitar and harmonica combined with the amazing musicians on stage made for the ultimate performance.
My fave show was Michael Franti. I've been to a lot of JazzFest shows but this one really stands out as a favourite. The energy of the crowd was like nothing I've seen. The entire garden was bouncing and jumping and just so into the show, so it was super cool to be a part of that experience.
When I think of JazzFest, I think of everything that comes together to make for an incredible evening: world-class musical talents, the beautiful open-air setting, and the company you're with. Of the many shows I've attended and absolutely loved, Lauren Hill was the most memorable. Growing up, my Fugees and Lauryn Hill albums were always on heavy rotation so seeing her live, with my best girlfriends by my side made it an unforgettable experience.
My favourite Jazz Festival memory was in 2007 when Brent (my now husband) and I just wandered downtown and grabbed a beer and listened to a great local band at the freestage. The reason it sticks out to me as a great memory is because Brent proposed to me later that night. It was such a perfect night! (But my favourite concert has to be Lauryn Hill last year. Hands down.)
I'm an arts publicist and this will be my third year working with the Saskatchewan Jazz Festival so I've been a very lucky lady to be front and centre for some amazing shows! One that pops into mind as a stand-out for me was 64 year old soul/funk artist Lee Fields & The Expressions at Amigo's. After playing a full set with his world-class, matching-suits band at the Bessborough Gardens MainStage, they loaded their instruments into a van and moved over to Amigo's to give a packed room full of hipsters and music lovers of all shades an after-midnight show they wouldn't forget. People loved it, they were cheering and reaching out to Lee and his incredible musicians, who gave them even more than they gave the MainStage crowd. It was July, hot, sweaty and condensation was dripping off the ceiling onto all of us as we were transported into Fields' world for a very soulful hour. He's been doing this since 1969 so the man knows how to put on a show. It was amazing. I love the Jazz Festival.
Covering the show the past few years, I have so many good memories. I would have to say Serena Ryder and The Harpoonist and the Axe Murders would be my faves. Also perhaps a rather nice- smelling hug from Wyclef Jean. I adore JazzFest and the vibes I get from the event of indescribable. It's something my family and I look forward to every year.
A few shows that stick out for me over the years are De La Soul and partying with them at Scratch afterward while Ali Shaheed Mohammad from A Tribe Called Quest blessed us with his DJ skills. The vibe was unreal and we danced all night long! The following year, we brought our then-4-month-old babe (in a carrier with a protective headset) to a couple of shows. How cool is it that JazzFest is family-friendly?! My son's first concerts were The Roots and Janelle Monae! 2015 was also memorable because of Common and LAURYN HILL who I never thought I'd see live and can't wait to see again this year. We also love to hit the free stage catching local bands like We Were Lovers and cool up-and-comers like Nomadic Massive who I'd fallen in love with when I was living in Toronto. But I can't forget about Erykah Badu... woah, I could go on and on about this Festival! I can't wait to make more memories this year and of course, I'll have a new baby in tow again!
My favourite Jazz Festival memories are taking my daughter Mackenzie to the free stages. Watching her dance and seeing how much she adores live music at her young and explorative age is the best!
I was asked what I love most about the SaskTel JazzFest as part of their 30th Anniversary retrospective and here's what I had to say:
As for my most memorable show, years ago, my parents took me to see New Orleans' zydeco and blues legend Dr. John play the Bes Gardens for JazzFest. I was maybe fifteen, just starting to get serious about playing the trumpet, and had been listening to his albums with an ear-training fandom so to see him up on stage was a total trip. He looked exactly the way his music sounded (eccentric) and I remember that show like it wasn't more than half my life ago. Which somehow, it was. :-P
Now, dear reader, it's your turn! What SaskTel JazzFest moment stands out most in your mind? Remember, you can comment here, Facebook, or Instagram and though we'll read every entry with enthusiasm, the winner of two City and Colour tickets will be picked at random. Contest now closes JUNE 25 and the winner will be announced that day. Good luck!
Maygen + the OCM girls