Toe-tapping, boogie-woogie music takes over Penticton Sept. 6 to 8 for what is billed as the best jazz party in the Pacific Northwest.
“It is, it absolutely is,” said Pentastic Hot Jazz Festival president Michael Campbell. “We offer a mix of jazz styles from Big Band, Zydeco, swing, traditional Dixieland and gospel. We have something for every taste and we credited that with our longevity.”
For their 17th year, the Pentastic Hot Jazz Festival has invited a strong lineup of bands that reflects that diversity, including Draga’s Dragons, Le Dixieband from Montréal, Tom Rigney & Flambeau, Tom Hook & The Terrier Brothers, Black Swan Jazz Band, Grand Dominion Jazz Band, Okanagan band Aged to Perfection, The Original Wildcat Jass Band, Gator Beat and local musicians the Offramp Jazz Sextet.
“We are really excited to have Le Dixieband come back to us after a seven year absence and we are also really looking forward to Grand Dominion Jazz Band who are new to us this year and are a great band,” said Campbell. “For a three-day pass at the price level we have set, you cannot get anything better than this.”
Several venues will transform into jazz concert halls for the three day event. The Elks Hall becomes the Cotton Club, the trade and convention centre will be known as Bourbon Street and the French Quarter, the S.S. Sicamous becomes the Speakeasy and events will also be held at the Shatford Centre.
On Sept. 6, from 1:50 to 3 p.m., a special outreach concert takes place at the Shatford Centre featuring Gator Beat. On Sept. 8 a free gospel service is hosted by the Black Swan Jazz Band at the trade and convention centre French Quarter, starting at 9 a.m.
“These are two fabulous bands and it is free to all, but we are accepting donations at both of these events. The money will go towards the high school music program,” said Campbell.
Those looking to get into the swing of things, can also learn a step or two at the free dance lessons for ticket holders on Sept. 7 at the Shatford Centre. Returning are instructors from Victoria’s Red Hot Swing Club. Also on Saturday, at the S.S. Sicamous Speakeasy, they will be throwing out the traditional theatre style seating for the 10:30 p.m. performance to change the atmosphere with the Riverboat Cabaret event.
“We will set up the room in cabaret style and we have got great musicians playing including Lance Buller, Larry Holloway and a mixture of people from other bands,” said Campbell.
As with any good jazz music comes dancing and the Pentastic Jazz Festival made sure to keep with the New Orleans tradition of a Second Line Parade.
“We will have that at the beginning and end of the festival. The band will be on stage playing something like When The Saints Go Marching In and people will know it’s time to get up and shake their booty,” said Campbell.
Tickets are $55 for Friday, $70 for Saturday, $50 for Sunday or a three-day pass can be purchased for $105. Daily and all event passes can be ordered at www.valleyfirsttix.com or purchased at the South Okanagan Events Centre box office, the Wine Info Centre and at the Best Western.
Free shuttles are offered at all the venues and between sponsoring hotel and motels to the venues.