There are a few events that really define summer in Vancouver: Canada Day, the Celebration of Light Fireworks Competition, Vancouver Pride, and the Vancouver International Jazz Festival (VIJF). Called the “hippest jazz festival in the world” by The Seattle Times, the VIJF is Vancouver’s biggest, greatest music festival of the year, and its as beloved by locals as it is by the hundreds of thousands of visitors it attracts.
Back for its 27th year, the 2012 Vancouver Jazz Festival features 1800 musicians and 400 concerts (100+ of which are free) at 40 venues across Vancouver. There are major headliners, five free mini festivals-within-the-festival, intimate concerts in Vancouver bars and restaurants (the 2012 VIJF Club Series), and music virtually everywhere you look. So get ready to fall in love with the Vancouver Jazz Festival all over again!
The Vancouver International Jazz Festival is so huge it’s easy to miss parts that shouldn’t be missed. Luckily, the official site makes it easy to find concerts based on artist, genre, or “series” (use the “advanced search” option for searching by “series”). To get you started, here’s a primer on the 2012 Festival:
Vancouver International Jazz Festival 2012 Headliners:
- Ten-time Grammy winner George Benson – June 23 at the Orpheum
- Jazz vocalist Dianne Reeves – June 23 at the Vogue Theatre
- Spectrum Road, featuring Cindy Blackman Santana, Jack Bruce, John Medeski and Vernon Reid – June 25 at the Vogue Theatre
- Legendary saxophonist Wayne Shorter & the Wayne Shorter Quartet - June 26 at the Vogue Theatre
- The Avett Brothers - June 26 at the Orpheum
Vancouver International Jazz Festival 2012 FREE Mini Festivals/Jazz Weekends
- Jazz Around Town – June 22 – July 1, 2012
- Downtown Jazz Weekend – June 22 – 23, 2012
- North Shore Jazz – June 22 – 24, & June 30, 2012
- David Lam Park Jazz Weekend – June 30 – July 1, 2012
- Granville Island Jazz on Canada Day – July 1, 2012
Downtown Jazz Weekend kicks off the 2012 VIJF with a free two-day mini festival of live music, food, kids’ activities, art, and more at downtown’s Robson Square (across from the Vancouver Art Gallery).
More on VIJF Free Concerts: Free Music at the Vancouver International Jazz Festival.
Vancouver International Jazz Festival 2012 Club Series
Want to enjoy a delicious Cajun dinner with your jazz? Or how about a cocktail or cool beer? Check out the the 2012 VIJF Club Series, where intimate concerts take place in Vancouver restaurants and bars, including the Cajun Ouisi Bistro, the Libra Room, and the Fairmont Pacific Rim. The concerts are usually free (though you do have to buy food/drinks), or just $5 – $10 at the door.
Of course, there is so much more happening at the 2012 VIJF. Find a complete schedule of events and concerts at the official site.
The Vancouver International Jazz Festival runs from June 22 – July 1, 2012.
Have a recommendation for a don’t-miss event at this year’s VIJF? Please share in the comments!