A Brief History…
Since her inception in 1989, this Great DIVA of Jazz Festivals has delivered her goods – for 26 un-interrupted years – under the creative eye of Bill King, and care of the Festival’s long standing Artistic Director, the Festival’s tireless producer, Lido Chilelli and the Festival’s Talent Co-ordinator Rico Ferrara.
She goes about her business in a steady and nurturing fashion – understanding her core values and welcoming her guests, new and old. Always able to win new converts and a new generation of admirers by experimenting around her edges, she keeps her programming current, fresh and (when encouraged) hot and steamy!
She’s brought you countless musicians for your listening and groovin’ pleasure, musicians such as Brian Hughes, David Blamires, Jane Bunnett, Warren Hill, Jesse Cook, Ingrid Jensan, Carole Weilsman, Molly Johnson, Francois Bourassa, Lorraine Desmarais, Mark Jordan, Carl Weathersby, Hilario Duran, just to name a few!
The Festival intends to stick around for the next two decades to continue encouraging Torontonians, Canadians and visitors from abroad to reach out and enjoy Canadian and international jazz talent and innovation. Rather than having Canadian talent first being recognized abroad before being accepted locally – the BIJF legitimizes local talent and continues to provide a springboard for artists to catapult into the world music scene.
The Festival’s mission is to introduce its large and loyal audience to good, primarily Canadian jazz, in a non-exclusionary and culturally inclusive fashion.
This DIVA must be doing something right – because she’s inspired a number of other newer music festivals to follow suit. Where other festivals may have trouble attracting an audience – this Festival has upwards of 1 million people attending and counting. The Festival attracts one of the most diverse audiences of any event in Canada and has a broad based and loyal constituency of jazz music and festival lovers.
The Festival intends to continue its tradition of being a free, open-air event committed to presenting quality jazz to all.
In the words of Lido Chilelli – “The world has taken notice of this little street festival”. We continue to be the ambassadors for the city and its jazz scene. Where else in Canada can you find a festival of this magnitude, beachside, and for free?”