Fort Langley jazz fest kicks off this weekend

Inaugural event includes Mardis Gras strolling parade, musical acts, art walk.

The sight and sounds of live jazz and visual art will take over the streets of Fort Langley this weekend at the inaugural Fort Langley Jazz & Arts Festival.

From a diverse line-up of jazz acts on two outdoor stages, talented jazz buskers performing throughout the community, an Art Walk, art auction and a hands-on art event, there is something for everyone to enjoy.

The festival will kick-off July 28 with a Mardis Gras style strolling parade at 9:30 a.m. from the Fort Langley Farmers’ Market to the Fort Langley Community Hall, followed by opening remarks emceed by Mark Forsythe, the former host of the CBC radio program, Almanac.

“Everyone is welcome to join us as we stroll with the New Orleans style band, the RazzMaJazz Ensemble,” said Karen Zukas, executive director of the festival.

Musical acts set to perform at the festival throughout the day are RazzMaJazz Ensemble, Van Django, Rumba Calzada, Miles Black Quartet with 17-year old rising vocalist, Julia Copeman-Haynes, the Wow Jazz Orchestra, City Soul Choir, Louie Quinn Band, Q5 and the Murray Porter Blues Band.

“Where ever you go in the Village during the festival, people will hear world-class jazz,” said Dave Quinn, artistic director for the festival. “From blues to big band, traditional to modern jazz and gypsy to latin jazz, we have a diverse line-up that will appeal to any jazz fan.”

One of the festival mandates is to provide performance opportunities for professional jazz musicians, youth and emerging artists explained Quinn.

“We are excited to be bringing in top tier music acts as well as a variety of talented duos, trios and quartet busker groups for people to enjoy,” he said.

Alongside the music, the festival will feature a self-guided art walk of 13 local art galleries and studios, clay sculpture demonstrations and a clay station where people can help build Fort Langley Jazz Town.

Art studios and galleries to tour on the art walk include: Elaine Brewer-White Ceramic Studio, Judy Nygren Studio, Susan Gallick Fine Art Studio, Fort Finery, Number 52 Studio and Gallery, Brandon Gabriel at Lelem Art & Cultural Cafe, Janice Robertson and Alan Wylie Studios, F.L.A.G., the Fort Gallery, Linda Muttit Studio, The Kube Gallery and Kizmit Gallery.

Selected pieces of art from the studios and galleries will be featured in an exhibition tent by the Fort Langley Community Hall. Pieces on view will be part of an art auction in the evening at the Motown community dance.

“While people dance the night away, they can also bid on one-of-a kind pieces of art — from pottery and jewelry to paintings and sculptures,” said Elaine Brewer-White, art director of the festival and contributor to the auction.

Each piece is displayed online at fortlangleyjazzfest.com, with proceeds from the auction going to support arts education for the 2019 Fort Langley Jazz and Arts Festival.

While the general music and arts festival runs on just the Saturday, there will also be a free Jazz Education Workshop and Jam session for youth and emerging artists on Sunday, July 29 from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Fort Langley Community Hall. To register for the workshop, visit https://www.fortlangleyjazzfest.com/jazz-workshop/

Adele LaRiviere