Penticton’s jazz festival keeps swinging

Tickets sales may have been down for the 2012 Pentastic Hot Jazz Festival, but festival will be back next September for its 17th year.

Willard Blackwell

Willard Blackwell

Tickets sales may have been down a bit for this year’s Pentastic Hot Jazz Festival, but organizers say there is no question, the festival will be back next September for its 17th year.

“Where we saw a drop was in Saturday passes. We were down 200 Saturday passes over last year,” said Michael Campbell, chair of the Jazz Fest society. But the society is forging ahead and has already set the festival date for 2013 — Sept. 6 to 8 — and is planning to start ticket sales soon.

“Within the month, we hope, we are going to have ticket sales for next year online. Definitely available online in time for Christmas gift giving,” said Campbell, adding that they are happy with how the jazz fest went this year.

“It was a success, we had great feedback, all of the bands were loved. A real pleasant surprise for everyone was Dixie Talks from Sweden. They were a real favourite, as was Aged to Perfection, our local guys,” said Campbell. “They were playing with almost 300 years of experience in one band and it showed. Everyone was complimenting us on choosing them to play. But it was a no brainer, we knew that they wouldn’t disappoint.”

This year’s festival also managed to raise some significant funds for local high school music programs. A free concert by zydeco band Gator Beat on Friday raised $265 and another $1,600 was collected on Sunday at the morning gospel service.

“We try to have a style of music for every taste,” said Campbell. “And we brought in those young dancers from Victoria and they were fabulous. They gave dance lessons for three hours on Saturday morning. That was very well received and they will be back again next year. We hope that by adding them to our festival, young people in their twenties and thirties pick up on what a great weekend it is.”