Beer gardens, rocking concerts and late nights, the SaskTel Saskatchewan Jazz Festival is not an event that immediately screams family but it might just be a chance to start a musical tradition. “Families are really important to our development,” says the festival’s artistic director Kevin Tobin. “Kids bring a real energy to the festival and we hope we are serving them as much as they are serving us.”
Tobin says the festival is a great way to grow new music fans and expose them to all genres of music. “I brought my daughter down to The Bassment she would just love it.” He says, “It was a special evening out, she could order a fancy virgin cocktail and chill out with me at a show.”
When it comes to venues, many parents know that the PotashCorp Club Jazz Free Stage in Kiwanis Park North is a sure bet. No tickets mean you have the luxury of coming and going as you need, you can work around nap time. This year’s sure bets for kids at Club Jazz include the folk/pop of the Karpinka Brothers Friday, the R&B vibes of Big Stuff on Saturday and Mo’Love’s tribute to Motown on Sunday.
If you want to take the family into the other venues there are few things you need to know about tickets. For mainstage shows in the Bessborough Gardens, children seven and under are free and you have to bring proof of their age. The children need to be accompanied by an adult and one adult can bring a maximum of two children. Tickets for mainstage shows for students 8-12 are half price.
Michael Franti and Spearhead are a ton of fun and shows usually end in an all out dance party on stage with the kids. Franti hits the Bessborough Gardens stage Thursday. Arrested Development is also a good choice for families with plenty of reggae infused beats on Saturday in the gardens.
If you’re looking to expand musical horizons, check out venues like The Bassment with Jack Broadbent. He’s taking the stage with his slide guitar Thursday night. At the Broadway Theatre, they can be wowed by the power of Ms.Lisa Fischer and Grand Baton. The Friday night performance will be a blend of cover songs you’ll recognize as well as originals. For all these venues, there is no youth discount. Tickets are full price.
Tobin says children are a key part to the jazz festival, “It’s really special when we can all come together and celebrate music and culture in our community.”