Saskatoon

SaskTel Saskatchewan Jazz Festival begins recruiting local musicians for this summer

Musicians from across the province are being asked to apply for this year's SaskTel Saskatchewan Jazz Festival.

Festival director says it's difficult to predict what restrictions will be in place

Hundreds of people packed into the Bessborough Gardens in Saskatoon during a pre-COVID jazz festival show. (Lisa Landrie)

Musicians from across the province are being asked to apply for this year's SaskTel Saskatchewan Jazz Festival.

Starting Monday, local musicians from any genre can apply for a spot at the Saskatoon festival, which is expected to be held in July.

The festival's artistic director hopes the news lifts the spirits of local artists.

"So many musicians have been devastated by the impact of COVID-19," said Kevin Tobin.

"We're really hoping that the announcement of the applications being opened is a bright light at the end of a long, dark tunnel."

The 2020 jazz festival was postponed and then significantly pared down from its initial lineup. There were four live concerts performed in August at Saskatoon's Bessborough Gardens, as well as several virtual concerts.

Tobin said he is looking forward to things eventually returning to normal, but admits it's almost impossible to predict what restrictions will look like this summer.

"Hopefully this summer, we're able to present live music again," he said.

"I think musicians are really appreciative to be able to perform. They would love to get back on the stage and performing in front of in front of people."

The uncertainty around COVID rules is complicating recruitment of international performers.

Tobin said he has been in preliminary talks with artists and managers.

"It's really going to be dependent on the capacities that we can get into venues, going under the assumption that we can present live in July," he said.

"Right now, we're going to focus our attention on Saskatchewan artists, our Canadian artists and making sure that our folks are are being employed."

This year's SaskTel Saskatchewan Jazz Festival is scheduled for July 9 to 18.

With files from The Afternoon Edition

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