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Beaches International Jazz Festival a Hit

August 2, 2016 2:23 pmViews: 138

The 2016 Summer Beaches International Jazz Festival – a Hit!

Beaches International Jazz Festival star Dwayne Dopsie.

Dwayne Dopsie at Toronto Beaches International Jazz Festival (BIJF).

TORONTO – Artistic Director Bill King’s line-up of artists for the 28th Beaches International Jazz Festival in Woodbine Park range from Canadian Juno award-winners to international must-sees.

Beaches International Jazz Festival artistic director Bill King.

BIJF Artistic Director Bill King.

The up-and-comers were part of the Festival’s Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport Youth Series. The series is a mentorship program King developed to help new bands get noticed. Each afternoon over the festival’s last two weekends, attendees could groove to the music of the Rumba Squad, from St. Michael’s College School Music Ensemble. Or to Generation Soul, from Discovery Through the Arts Combos.

During weekends, attendees heard the sounds of Paul James’s rock-and-roll blues. As well as Ivana Santilli’s “pop-dipped soul”, Mark Kelso & the Jazz Exiles’s jazz fusion, Dione Taylor’s “Prairie Blues”, and Blackburn’s soulful R&B. Some 38 bands were featured.

It was Dwayne Dopsie & the Zydeco Hellraisers, who closed Saturday, July 23rd. However, Dopsie, who plays Zydeco music (a southern Louisiana sound that blends accordion, guitar, and washboard), gave attendees such energetic dance music. He earned the day. His CDs sold out half-way through the show. And at the end, he received a 10-minute standing ovation. The audience then spent another 10 minutes demanding more. It didn’t stop until Stage Manager Rico Ferrara came out and told everyone the show was over.

What made Dopsie such a dynamic performer? Perhaps it was his jumping off the stage and wading into the standing-only crowd. Or, maybe it was his invitation to all the females in the audience, from young girls to middle-agers, to come onstage and dance. Which they did en masse until there was no more room. Whatever it was, he put on a great show.

Beaches International Jazz Festival StreetFest.

BIJF StreetFest presented another 40 bands for strollers.

Taste of Jazz at Beaches International Jazz Festival a gourmet delight.

The BIJF’s two-day Taste of Jazz event offered attendees international gourmet delights to eat while listening to the music. One of these items was an $8 “Rolled Ice Cream” concoction. Watching it being made by two young entrepreneurs was interesting. After waiting more than 10 minutes for it, however, a customer complained about how long it was taking.

Queen Street East was the place to go for those who wanted to listen to jazz while they strolled. The BIJF StreetFest presented another 40 bands that played at the same location each night.

As the BIJF continues to grow and get better each year, one can only imagine how good next year’s 29th celebration will be. I am sure not going to miss it!

More Festival articles to read.
• 2017 Beaches International Jazz Festival.

W&H | Summer 2016 Beaches International Jazz Festival scores Hit.

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