This past holiday weekend, Newmarket hosted the annual Newmarket Jazz+ Festival. And what a treat for this town! As a Newmarket resident myself, I am so pleased to see a festival of this caliber being produced here. We are very fortunate to have the support of the people, the town council and local businesses for an amazing display of music and the arts.
This year, the organizers of the event really wanted to grow this little event into something more special and really make a splash, and did they ever! In the past, this weekend-long fest was held primarily at the Riverwalk Commons in the old downtown Main Street neighbourhood. This year, however, it expanded across town to the Ray Twinney Complex, with a much bigger festival footprint. Much bigger feel. And the addition of major headline acts inside the main arena at the complex.
The title of the festival is aptly named Jazz “plus” as attendees were treated to jazz, blues, rock, and in between shows were able to watch local dancers perform and also take part in some Zumba, and much more. Folks were also able to visit the many vendors such as pizza trucks, Beavertails, Nature’s Emporium, kettle corn plus many other local professional businesses (there were so many). And lets not forget the amazing craft brews from Newmarket’s own Arch Brewing Co. There were activities for all ages, and certainly families were enjoying some really good times together right in their own “backyard”. I saw people dressed in character as The Mad Hatter, and other fun and whimsical costumes. I saw faces painted, and the ice cream truck was a sweet way to cool off in the summer sun.
Another very important aspect of this event, and certainly not lost on me, was the sheer number of personnel. The all-important volunteers that are absolutely critical to the success of any such undertaking. This is a big team, and it was very obvious to me that a lot of planning had gone into putting on such a big show. Big thumbs up to all involved. Things ran very smoothly, and I was treated very well by everyone.
I arrived right smack dab in the middle of the event, on Saturday where the grounds were bathed in brilliant sunshine. In fact, the weather really cooperated for the entire weekend. The lineup of performers was extensive and included artists such as Lorne Lofsky, Pretzelogic, Bernadette Connors, Blackboard Blues Band, Project Classified, Brass Transit, and the George St Kitts Band. Here are a few shots from one of my local favourites, the Glenn Marais Band. They ripped a killer set Saturday afternoon.
The big show of the weekend belonged to iconic Canadian blues-rocker Colin James. What a great show Colin and his band gave us. Just amazing. The stage set up was nice, the sound was good, and the fans in the stands certainly had a blast. Colin played all his big hits and had the crowd singing and rocking along. In fact, there was quite a stage rush as the show got started. They were 4-5 deep up at the front within seconds. What a great time! This was another feature of the festival that took it to a higher level from years past. The organizers thought big, and delivered big. Here are a few shots of Colin James and his band.
Sound Check Entertainment would like to thank the organizers for having us out. Special thanks to David Robinson and Gail Bevilacqua for your assistance, and to Colin James’ team as well. We look forward to seeing what next year’s lineup brings! No doubt, it will be another fantastic long weekend. Yup, life is good at the Newmarket Jazz+ Festival.
More Images from Newmarket Jazz+ Fest:
Scott Burns / Scott Burns Images / Sound Check Entertainment