Watch above: Come rain or shine, more people are attending the Saskatchewan Jazz Festival
SASKATOON – For ten days every summer, jazz, blues, funk and world music can be heard echoing across Saskatoon’s riverside.
The SaskTel Saskatchewan Jazz festival wrapped up Sunday and organizers say it’s been a big success, despite the soggy weather. The festival featured more than 700 artists, with a lot of homegrown prairie talent.
“It’s critical for us to be supporting local, live music,” said the festival’s artistic director Kevin Tobin.
“Just over 450 of those performers are Saskatchewan artists, so they make up the majority,” he explained.
This year’s festival cost $1.8 million to put on. Money raised will go towards next year’s festival.
“The 15 years that I’ve been here, that budget has increased four times,” Tobin explained.
He said more than 400 volunteers were instrumental in keeping the festivities running smoothly.
“They put in countless hours, they were out putting out wood chips in the middle of the rain, trying to get the venues still up and running and making them look the best that they can.”
Saskatoon brings in about $530 million from tourism each year, and events like the Jazz Festival keep the industry thriving said Todd Brandt, CEO of Tourism Saskatoon.
“We’re very much an event-based economy,” Brandt explained.
“Our annual festivals and events, the cultural nature of those, are really important to us, and those just keep the turn stiles going around,” he said.
Organizers hope the festival will continue to grow for many years to come.