Archive » Arts and Entertainment

Blues and Jazz set to return following two year hiatus 

March 21, 2022   ·   1 Comments

By Sam Odrowski

The sound of live music will be heard throughout the downtown core in less than three months with the long-awaited return of Orangeville Blues and Jazz Festival. 

The three-day event is running June 3 to 5 this year and will feature over 80 acts.

Blues and Jazz Festival president Josh Leitch said himself and the other organizers are thrilled to be bringing the annual event back after pausing it for the last two years due to COVID-19 restrictions. 

“We are so incredibly excited to bring it back,” said Leitch. “It’s been too long of a wait to get out as a community to celebrate music and celebrate art. Just getting together and seeing friends or meeting new friends, hearing some amazing music and eating some incredible food.”

The main stage will return to Alexandra Park, while a side stage will be operated by Blues and Jazz organizers on Broadway. 

As usual, the Opera House (87 Broadway) will be hosting performers as well as several restaurants and venues throughout Orangeville. Pop-up bands will also be scattered along Broadway and Mill Street.

“It’s a chance for the community to come together, celebrating and enjoying music,” said Leitch. 

The festival was started in 2003 by Larry Kurtz, who is a major driver of arts and music in Orangeville.

It was small at first, starting out as a one-day event with just five volunteers, and a handful of acts performing in Alexandra Park, but has since grown into a major economic driver for the town. 

Orangeville’s Economic Development and Culture committee estimated around 35,000 visitors (residents and non-residents) were brought into the downtown core for the festival in 2014 and this year they’re projecting 40,000.

The Blues and Jazz Festival is a great opportunity for Orangeville residents to get better acquainted with their downtown area, Leitch told the Citizen.

“Our festival helps to draw out Orangeville residents into the downtown core, and hopefully introduce our community to what the town has to offer,” he said. “Not just music, not just this three-day festival, but there’s a lot of amazing restaurants and shops downtown.”

In addition to music this year, there’s the annual Blues Cruise on Friday, which will see some 400 classic cars lined up along Broadway. There’s also going to be a variety of food vendors set up along the streets and the Orangeville Public Library will be running workshops or events with performing artists. 

Leitch said the Blues and Jazz Festival is a family friendly event that’s geared towards the whole community. 

“It’s a celebration of music, celebration of the start of summer, and start of the festival season,” he enthused.

The event is free to attend but there will be an admission to enter the Opera House theatre and Alexandra Park, which is where the main stages will be. 

With the event being mostly free, it relies heavily on grant funding from all three levels of government, the Orangeville Business Improvement Area, TD Bank and countless private businesses. 

It costs roughly $250,000 to $300,000 to put the festival on each year and is made possible thanks to the many sponsors and donors who have supported Orangeville Blues and Jazz, especially through the pandemic, keeping the organization afloat.

“I would just like to thank everyone who has been supportive over the last couple of years, that have allowed us to stay in business, and be financially in a position to present the full 2022 festival,” said Leitch.

Readers Comments (1)

  1. Al.Kurtz says:

    i’m so proud of my son Larry(founder&suporter ofthis festival overall these years cogratulations thru it all you still come out a winner that,s my boy ….DAD…


Please note: Comment moderation is enabled and may delay your comment. There is no need to resubmit your comment.