Niagara Jazz Festival goes national with online event Friday

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After a year that changed everything, the TD Niagara Jazz Festival will be part of a national online event celebrating jazz festivals across the country.

The Canadian Online Jazz Festival, which continues to Sunday, has gathered video highlights of the year from about a dozen festivals. Niagara will present an hour of clips and performances from its various livestreams starting at 7 p.m. Friday.

Niagara Jazz Festival executive director Juliet Dunn said while many festivals were forced to livestream shows, the performances were still noteworthy. Combined, they show the spirit of jazz in Canada still strong despite the pandemic.

“(They) basically said, ‘Show everybody what it is you do,’ so we decided to feature one song from each Niagara artist,” she said. “An hour adds up fast when you do a song here and a song there.”

Also shown will be some of the festival’s Summer Mardi Gras event. All told, the festival managed to livestream dozens of events this year compared to just two live concerts with a combined audience of 80 people.

The Canadian Online Jazz Festival started Nov. 8 with two presentations each evening.

“During times when we aren’t able to gather to enjoy live music, it’s good to know there are still options to present jazz music to Canadians,” said organizer Kodi Hutchinson.

Jazz festivals from Ottawa, Montreal, Halifax, Toronto and Edmonton are taking part.

All events can be seen on the event’s Facebook and YouTube page.

Dunn said her attention is now on next year’s festival, which in all likelihood will look much like this year’s.

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“We know there won’t be things in parks, it’s pretty much guaranteed,” she said. “Even if we are allowed to, I don’t think a lot of people are going to out to parks to gather.

“It’s so expensive to put on these productions in parks it just wouldn’t make sense, so like a lot of festivals we’re doing several plans at once. Worst case scenario is everything’s online again.”

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