Skip to content

Victoria JazzFest captures evolving art form

The festival, running June 21-30, has a stacked lineup highlighting new tones in jazz, blues, world music and more
Veronica Swift will be one of the many talented artists at TD Victoria International JazzFest (Matt Baker)

It’s billed as 10 hot days and nights of the coolest music in Victoria. 

The TD Victoria International JazzFest has been running for 40 years now and this year’s festival, running Friday, June 21 to Sunday, June 30, takes place on nine stages scattered across Victoria. 

“The exciting thing about this music is that it’s always evolving…always changing,” said Kristen Binley, the festival’s communication and programming assistant. 

“You can start out with the traditional forms (of jazz) but now there are artists with a more avant-garde approach that is rocking the jazz world. Take Veronica Swift, who integrates pop and rock into her vocal style and songwriting or improvisational artists like Bellbird and Konrad Agnes who are really setting a new tone,” said Binley, referring to three artists on this year’s lineup. 

The festival’s ticketed Marquee Series is set to thrill fans with a spectacular lineup at both the McPherson Playhouse and the Royal Theatre. The series kicks off June 21 with four-time Grammy Award-winner Booker T’s Stax Revue, and Juno Award-winning Blue Moon Marquee, opening with their mix of American blues and folk, jazz manouche, and swing with Native American themes. 

On Sunday, June 23, Australian singer/songwriter Ziggy Alberts takes the Royal Theatre stage with opener Garret Kato. On June 25, Veronica Swift, plus the Kjetil Mulelid Trio – a Norway group that has become one of Europe’s premiere jazz piano groups – will perform at McPherson Playhouse. 

Wednesday, June 26, 10-time Grammy Award-winning Take 6 shares a twin bill with jazz powerhouse Morgan James at the Royal Theatre. 

Other ticketed events plus free performances take place at the other stages of the festival, including one of the newest venues at Bullen Park, 527 Fraser St., right by the Esquimalt Rec Centre. 

Free performances, in celebration of JazzFest’s 40th, include Busty and the Bass, Blase Blase, and Downtown Mischief. 

A full schedule of JazzFest shows and tickets can be found at