Saskatoon’s SaskTel Saskatchewan Jazz Festival Marks its 25th Anniversary

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Tourism Saskatoon pleased with the continued draw of major artists to the SaskTel Saskatchewan Jazz Festival.

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“The community has really embraced the jazz festival over the past 25 years. And as our community grows, the festival will be right there, reflecting the community’s interests, eccentricities, and vast diversity,” says Kevin Tobin, Artistic Director.

Saskatoon proudly hosts the 2011 SaskTel Saskatchewan Jazz Festival marking its 25th anniversary, June 24 to July 3. An impressive line-up of world-renowned artists has been announced, including Macy Gray, Aaron Neville, Arrested Development, Béla Fleck & The Flecktones, Tegan and Sara and Saskatoon’s own The Sheepdogs.

Held annually in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, the 10-day festival features over 140 performances of music genres including jazz, blues, funk, world music and pop which equates to over 176 hours of live music.

“The community has really embraced the jazz festival over the past 25 years. And as our community grows, the festival will be right there, reflecting the community’s interests, eccentricities, and vast diversity,” says Kevin Tobin, Artistic Director of the SaskTel Saskatchewan Jazz Festival.

Canadian jazz piano legend Oliver Jones, who performed at the first jazz festival, has been commissioned to write and present a new piece of work entitled Saskatchewan Suite. Jones will perform the composition for the first time Sunday, June 26 at the Broadway Theatre with the 17-piece Metro Jazz Ensemble.

“The growth of the festival has been remarkable, enabling us to bring world-class artists to Saskatoon as well as showcase our local talent. The mix of musical genres offered is designed to attract, engage and inspire a growing and diverse audience within and beyond the borders of Saskatoon and Saskatchewan,” says Tobin.

2010 was a record year for ticket sales and these are currently up approximately 30% over the same time last year. The SaskTel Saskatchewan Jazz Festival contributes an estimated $4.5 million to the local economy. It is the second largest jazz festival in Western Canada and fifth largest in the country. More than 70,000 visitors attended the Saskatoon festival in 2010.

“We wish the Jazz Festival a great 25th anniversary. The calibre of the artists confirmed creates a powerful draw for tourism to our city. We’re looking forward to welcoming visitors from all over Saskatchewan and beyond,” says JoAnne Wasko, Director of Markets, Advertising & Media with Tourism Saskatoon.

The festival’s 40 ticketed concerts and 76 free performances take place in venues downtown Saskatoon and in the Broadway Avenue district. Tickets may be purchased online at saskjazz.com, by calling 306-652-4700 or toll-free 1-800-638-1211, or in person at the Festival Box Office, Delta Bessborough Hotel Lobby, 601 Spadina Crescent East, Saskatoon.

About Tourism Saskatoon
Tourism Saskatoon is a membership-based, non-profit visitor and convention bureau marketing Saskatoon and region as a destination of choice for leisure and business travel. Services include convention and events attraction, media relations, and membership services and advocacy. One of a few destinations in Canada, Tourism Saskatoon holds Destination Marketing Accreditation by Destination Marketing Association International. Nicknamed “the hub city” for its numerous domestic and international transportation connections, Saskatoon is known for its expansive parklands and admired for its arts and culture scene, festivals and major sporting events. For more information, visit http://www.tourismsaskatoon.com.

About the Saskatchewan Jazz Festival
The Saskatchewan Jazz Festival (SJF) was incorporated in 1992 and is owned by the Saskatoon Jazz Society. The mandate of the SJF is to stage an artistically significant annual festival of jazz and related music. The first festival took place in Saskatoon during the summer of 1987. Today, 25 years later, it has become the second largest festival of its kind in Western Canada. The SJF is a non-profit organization and registered charity, governed by a board of directors. It employs a permanent staff of three, and recruits over 200 volunteers each year for the 10 days of the festival. For more information, visit http://saskjazz.com.

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Kelly Bertoncini

JoAnne Wasko
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