What do you get when you mix together a hot line-up of cool jazz in an incredible seaside location… why the Pender Harbour Jazz Festival, now in its sixteenth year.
Pender Harbour has been called the “Venice of the North” due to its many little communities connected to each other by boat. The Jazz Festival is an annual event for us, but this year we decided to take our boat to fully experience the flavour of this great weekend.
We tied up at Fisherman’s Resort, just a short 5-minute walk from the Garden Bay Pub which was offering three jazz concerts that afternoon and evening. The sun was shining as we sat out on the expansive deck, overlooking the marina, while listening to the bluesy jazz vocals of Ruth McGillivray.
Later that evening Doc Fingers took centre stage, together with a stellar cast of partners in crime, who kept the joint jumping well into the wee hours.
We woke up the next morning to bright sunshine, surrounded by water and boats. The water was as flat as the proverbial pane of glass, producing a surreal set of reflections.
It was another short walk, across a little wooden footbridge to LaVerne’s Grill where we had their rather substantial Boater’s Breakfast. Satiated, we wandered back and found front row seats just as Anagram was setting up for their morning concert.
Back on our boat, we headed across the harbour to Madeira Park for the afternoon Jazzapalooza, four different groups, each offering one-hour sets and ranging from hot Afro-Cuban Jazz to mellow, straight ahead standards.
Here, Company B Jazz Band was on stage entertaining the appreciative audience with their beautifully harmonized renditions of the Andrews sisters and other songs from the 20’s to 40’s.
We made one more crossing, back to the Garden Bay Pub, to soak up the sunshine while listening to yet another fine group of jazz musicians. Wow… what a weekend. We’ll be back on our boat, heading up to the harbour next year for sure.
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