JUNO Award winner Laila Biali is set to return to Sylvan Lake as the headlining act for this year’s Jazz at the Lake, Aug. 16-18. Biali’s concert is scheduled for Aug. 14. File Photo

Sylvan Lake’s Jazz at the Lake releases line-up

Laila Biali is set to return to the stage in Sylvan Lake as the festival’s headliner

Jazz at the Lake is just over two months away from it’s 17th anniversary.

On May 1, the festival committee officially announced the festival’s line-up, which will include some new events and old favourites.

The headlining act for the weekend-long event, which is held Aug. 16-18 this year, is returning artist Laila Biali.

A press release from the festival’s committee says the return of Biali is by popular demand.

She is returning is Sylvan Lake fresh off her JUNO Award win for Vocal Jazz Album of the Year.

Eric Allison, co-founder of the festival and one of the coordinators, says he is absolutely thrilled to have Biali back for another year.

There is a bit of a change to the festival’s normal schedule.

Normally the headlining concert is on the Saturday night, however, due to Ms. Biali’s schedule, her concert will be held on the Friday night, Aug. 16.

The community dance, normally held on Friday night as a warm up to the jam-packed weekend, will be held Sat., Aug. 17.

“Johnny Summers is back for the 11th year with his Little Big Band in a Swing Dance on Saturday night, August 17, at the Legion,” the press release states.

New to the line-up this year is what is being called “Party in the Park.” This event will take place on Aug. 18 in Centennial Park with two “high energy and exciting” bands: blues-man Jack Semple and Argentinian keyboard phenom Gabriel Palatchi, and their trios.

This event costs $10 per person, with children able to attend for free.

“This is a new and exciting event for us,” said Allison, adding the two trios are “super high energy.”

The weekend of jazz will end with the popular Pubs and Clubs event, which will feature seven different live jazz groups performing at seven different venues in town.

“It is our mandate in our 17th consecutive year to continue to provide a venue for jazz performers of the highest quality, thereby enhancing Sylvan Lake’s historic tradition of live music, cultural awareness and family fun for Albertans of all ages; and to expand the awareness of, and provide performance venues for, musicians and students involved in the arts communities and the numerous music programs in our community. But above all, our mandate is to have fun,” Allison and Cheryl Fisher said.

A few weeks ago the Jazz at the Lake Committee were notified they had been denied a raffle license by Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis (AGLC).

Allison said he has recently spoken to Terry Delorme, manager of Gaming Eligibility and Programs with AGLC, and has been informed they have been approved for the license after all.

According to Delorme, Jazz at the Lake is an “arts organization” and should be included in a specific category.

“Terry told me that in 2016 they created a new category of “Community Events” (revised in December of 2018) and read me the eligible organizations. Included were “Festivals” and “Ongoing Annual Events”, both of which we are. She cleared this with all the AGLC powers above her and they agreed to issue us a raffle license!” Allison wrote in an email.

Delorme indicated she would also be contacting other organizations affected by the change.

The raffle has the chance to bring in around $20,000 for the festival. All profits raised through the festival is put back into the coffers for the following year’s activities.

Jazz at the Lake will be making noise Aug. 16-18 this summer.

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