The Big Easy – 2019 Blues Bash coming up on Feb. 9

January 28, 2019   ·   0 Comments

By Constance Scrafield

If the Blues and Jazz Festival coming annually to Orangeville in the first weekend of June is a favourite time of yours, you might like to join in the Big Easy Blues Bash coming up  February 9, at the Best Western Inn and Conference Centre.

“It’ll be a great evening of music and dancing,” declared co-founder and Artistic Director of the festival, Larry Kurtz, “We tried the New Orleans Mardi Gras theme last year and it was fun, so we thought we’d do it again this year. We welcome people to dress up for it. Not everybody does but it’s fun so we encourage it. Last year, some went all out.”

He told us, “Doors open at 6:30 and the show starts at 7:00pm.”

The music is promised to be live and lively, with Orangeville’s Soul Collective to warm things up.

The Jack de Keyser Band is the headliner this year. Two-time Juno award winner Jack de Keyser will be participating in the International Blues Challenge, in Memphis, Tennessee, this year, competing with 250 other bands, over four days of competition. This competition in Memphis  draws musicians globally, who have already competed at home to win a place.

Jack de Keyser, a seven-time Maple Blues Award Winner and the “most award-winning musician in Canada” is a terrific choice to play the biggest fundraiser of the year for the Orangeville Blues and Jazz Festival.

All arts events are funded by grants, public or private funding, donations and parties like this one. Naturally, the last is the most fun and the most work but organizers and volunteers alike, roll up their sleeves and dig in to make it all happen. 

Mr. Kurtz commented, “This event is important to us because we really depend on people coming out to support us.”

Orangeville’s Blues and Jazz Festival has been an annual event for 16 years, going from a few people putting a small festival together, for the sake of the music, to an award-winning event that brings 30,000 people to Orangeville to enjoy the festival and patronize local businesses. 

By and large, the entertainment is free. Juno award winners, famous and local musicians, are playing here for residents and visitors alike to have the very rare chance to enjoy all this talent, by simply walking down the streets of town. It is also a wonderful opportunity for new and local musicians to be seen and heard.

Musicians and aficionados of blues and jazz from many countries have heard about the excellence of Orangeville’s Blues and Jazz Festival. They apply to play here or they come to Canada to attend it. No kidding. 

The venues for the bands are spread through the town, into restaurants and the Opera House. “Four stages and 90 acts!” last year’s banners boasted and so there were. In the park behind the town hall, the main stage is set up and a beer tent adds to the fun. There is a very large number of volunteers, playing the essential roles that all events – whether arts, sports, social – all  of them – depend upon. 

The man-hours to put on such a fine festival are without number but everyone involved contributes willingly, for the Blues and Jazz Festival is important to the whole of Orangeville’s community. 

The Blues Bash on February 9 will be a big break from the February doldrums when there is not a lot else going on. It is an evening of entertainment, dance as you please, wear your glad rags, with a New Orleans style buffet served up in the middle of the evening. 

A silent auction is a nice way to pick up a few items for a bargain and add to the benefits to the Festival. The organizers do engage a silent auction company for the sake of convenience and paper work.

“They bring in items and set it all up,” Mr. Kurtz explained, “and, at the end of the night, they give us a cheque. There are lots of things from local people on the tables as well. Anyone can donate to it. It is a good help.”

So, come one, come all for a great evening. For tickets, go to BookLore, First Street, Orangeville or order on line at or for tables of 10, apply to 

As Larry Kurtz said, “This is for the Blues and Jazz Festival in June.” 

And for a good time now…

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