We get to listen to a lot of good music on the Sunshine Coast and the Pender Harbour Jazz Festival is one of my favourite events. Mix great jazz of all styles with very, very small venues and you have the phenomenon that is the Pender Harbour Jazz Festival. And how about those venues… waterside restaurants and pubs - it just doesn’t get any better.
Pender Harbour is a collection of small, friendly communities joined by a highway but more connected by water. Its days go back as a fishing community and it was much easier to get around by boat. The nautical influence continues, like this mural on the side of the community hall which hosted yesterday’s event – a series of four one-hour performances ranging from a tight sextet playing old gold jazz to my favourite, Van Django’s punchy gypsy jazz.
Van Django is influenced heavily by the gypsy jazz of Django Reinhardt who played at the Hot Club in France during the 1930′s. Here they are tying it all together with a last minute rehearsal just before going on stage. It was an extra bonus for me to sit and listen in this casual setting.
This was the fifteenth annual Jazz Festival hosted by Pender Harbour and it’s easy to understand why it has become an annual destination event for a crowd of jazz lovers from across the Pacific Northwest. Mark your calendar for next year – the third weekend in September.
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