Jazz is alive and well in Sylvan Lake with upcoming festival

Jazz is alive and well in Sylvan Lake with upcoming festival

Jazz at the Lake returns to Sylvan Lake, Aug. 17-19.

Jazz at the Lake is back for another year of soulful jazz music with a small change thrown in.

This year’s festival is a little shorter than in previous years. This is due in part to a survey sent out after last year’s festival, according to festival organizer Eric Allison.

After returning to the festival format after a two year hiatus, the survey asked if attendees preferred the festival format or the music series format Jazz at the Lake had done previously.

“The results were pretty much 50-50,” said Allison. “So we decided to split the difference, and have the festival along with a couple concerts earlier in the year.”

Jazz at the Lake held two concerts, one in February and one in May, and have chosen to make the festival a three-day event rather than four.

Missing from this year’s line-up is the popular swing dance, which was usually held Thursday evening.

“Our two events earlier in the year were in a dance format, so we felt comfortable with leaving the dance out this year,” Allison explained.

Despite one less day, Allison says the remaining three days of the festival are chalked full of events and activities.

From the afternoon of Aug. 17 to the evening of Aug 19, jazz will be flowing from various venues from across Sylvan Lake.

For Allison, he says he is greatly looking forward to the Laila Biali concert at the Alliance Church, Aug. 18. The evening concert is the only ticketed event during the weekend, all the rest are free or by donation.

“[Biali] is a wonderful, talented musician. She hasn’t won a Juno yet, but I’m sure it won’t be long now,” Allison said.

Part of the night which has Allison excited, is the inclusion of the young musicians who won June’s Project Discovery and will be opening for Biali.

Each performer – three solos and one dixieland jazz band – will play one song before Biali.

Allison says Jazz at the Lake tries to include young people in the festival in any way they can, but it can be difficult.

“I think it will be a thrill for the kids to perform on stage [Aug. 18], and for the audience to know that jazz is alive and well in the younger generations.”

Tickets for the concert have been selling well, Allison says, and can be purchased online at www.jazzatthelake.com, through the NexSoure Centre or at the door on Aug. 18.