Tom Rigney and Flambeau, a favourite at the Pentastic Hot Jazz Festival, is back this year along with many others, old and new to the festival. Western News file photo

Hot Jazz festival ready to sizzle once more

Penticton’s hottest music festival back for 21st year

This weekend, the Pentastic Hot Jazz Festival turns 21.

“We’re legal all over Canada,” said Michael Campbell, president of the Jazz Festival Society.

People come from all over the country for the mix of music offered at Pentastic, and from elsewhere. “We have people coming from all over the USA, including, believe it or not, New Orleans. It’s sort of like bringing the coals to Newcastle.”

Part of the draw is the eclectic mix of Jazz styles on offer.

“Some festivals live and die on Dixie or traditional, some live and die on cool jazz, which is not us,” said Campbell. That includes Dixieland, big band, swing, gospel and even a bit of rockabilly this year.

“We have as good a band lineup as there is anywhere in North America,” said Campbell. “That’s not braggadocio, that’s fact. People are crazy about the talent we bring to town and people travel a long way to enjoy it.”

The rockabilly Campbell refers to is courtesy of Dave Bennett and the Memphis Speed Kings, who are returning for their second year. But this year, Bennett is bringing a second band with him.

“The man is a virtuoso on the piano, on the guitar, on the clarinet and on the drums,” said Campbell. “Then he’s got the Dave Bennet quartet, they devote most of their music to Benny Goodman, with Dave Bennet on clarinet.”

This year’s lineup is filled with first-timers and old favourites like Lance Buller, Tom Rigney and Flambeau, Gator Nation, Bob Draga; so many that Campbell struggles to name them all.

“I don’t want anyone to think I am playing favourites,” said he said. “Marilyn Keller with Black Swan, she knocks them dead. She makes me weep every time she does gospel.”

One of the new bands is Sing ‘N Swing, a Penticton youth band, established last year as the Princess Margaret Secondary School Senior Jazz Combo.

“I am looking forward to seeing them again,” said Campbell, who reviewed the band a few months ago at the request of their instructor, Don Grant. “We liked what we saw and heard, so we invited them to our event for this year.

“We like to showcase locals. We’ve had some pretty good musicians come up through the school ranks.”

The bands will rotate through five venues around Penticton, giving everyone lots of opportunities to see their favourites. It all kicks off with the tradition outreach concert on Friday, a by donation show starting at 1:50 p.m at Princess Margaret Secondary and featuring Benny and the Good Men.

More information about the bands, tickets and schedules is available online at the Pentastic Hot Jazz website, pentasticjazz.com

Just Posted

New multi-million baggage system up and running at YLW

Kelowna Airport’s $39 million outbound baggage system can handle 900 bags an hour

New safety doors aim to protect transit drivers

These new full-length doors will be tested in Victoria, Kelowna and Abbotsford

Death and fire not treated as suspicious

RCMP has turned the invesigation of Monday’s fire on Gaggin Road over to the BC Coroners Service

Reworked plan for Kelowna’s Green Square development approved

After rejecting first version of residential development expansion, council says yes to new plan

Police searching for GoPro owner

Police are looking for the owner of a GoPro seized by police in Kelowna

One person sent to hospital after fire near Keremeos

Fire ripped through a shed and Winnebego at Sunkatchers RV Park Co-operative

Penticton Indian Band selects five new councillors

PIB aiming for internal reconciliation after by-election

Chiefs ground Rockets in Spokane

Former Rockets’ head coach Dan Lambert leads his Chiefs past Kelowna Wednesday in WHL action

Education minister blasts Chilliwack school trustee on gender issues

Fleming calls Neufeld’s behaviour ‘shameful’ and ‘unacceptable’

Two types of civic engagement in PIB

Some voted in the byelection, others protested the polls, as Penticton Indian Band fissures continue

‘Fresh eyes’ looking into three missing Cowichan Tribes men

First Nations want answers to their disappearances

Pedestrian hit moments after receiving safety reflector from police

The Vancouver Island man was treated for minor injuries by police at the scene

FortisBC LNG site exports first shipment of gas to China

The shipment is part of a pilot project that could see more exports in the future.

BC RCMP hunt for white SUV that rammed cruiser

Kamloops RCMP are looking for a white SUV headed north on the Yellowhead Highway

Most Read