2024 Festival Dates

Official launch: 
“Jazz Me a Note” Friday, September 6th at Vancouver Island Sculpting Studio/Joel A. Prevost.
Main Stage performances on the Wesley Street Stage:
 Saturday, September 14th and Sunday, September 15th.
Evening concerts at various venues in Downtown Nanaimo:
 Thursday, September 12th to Sunday, September 15th.
The Canadian All Stars Sextet,
featuring Phil Dwyer and Christine Jensen:
 Saturday, September 14th at The Port Theatre.
NIJFA  Presents: The Canadian All Stars Sextet,
featuring Phil Dwyer and Christine Jensen
Saturday, September 14, 2024 @ 7:30 pm 
The Nanaimo International Jazz Festival Association is very pleased to bring to the Port Theatre stage the Canadian All Stars Band, featuring a sextet of some of Canada’s leading jazz performers for a one-night only performance. This show is sure to be a memorable moment in the pantheon of West Coast Jazz music.
Led by multiple Juno winner and Order of Canada recipient, saxophonist Phil Dwyer, this ensemble of seasoned Canadian pros joins forces for this special event.
Complementing the sextet is Nanaimo’s beloved saxophonist Christine Jensen, guitarist Ted Quinlan, Cuban trumpet ace Alexander Brown, and Roberto Occhipinti on bass, all of whom can claim Juno wins or nomination status over the years.
Completing this award-winning crème de la crème band is Order of Canada recipient, the legendary drummer Terry Clarke.
This is a rare opportunity to witness this exceptional combination of Canadian jazz masters sharing the stage for the very first time. Reserve early to get the best seat in the house!
$40 general / $35 NIJFA members / $25 students
(prices include taxes and order fees)

Dive deep into the heart and soul of Vancouver Island’s jazz scene. The rhythms and melodies at the last Festival were here not just in music but reflective of the island’s spirit and echo the sounds of its landscapes, communities, and cultural tapestry.

A Successful Jazzy Weekend


Not so long ago, September 15 to 17, 2023, Nanaimo saw more than 2500 music lovers enjoy a jazz-packed weekend which featured 20 live performances, held at 6 various venues around the downtown core and Nanaimo’s Old City Quarter. “Best fest yet” F.B.

More than
127 musicians

Brian & Diana Krall
Black and white group photo of musicians at Nanaimo Jazz Festival

More than 127 musicians were hired for the 3-day festival, with acts ranging from soloists to 10-piece ensembles covering the many different styles of jazz enjoyed by a music-loving community. Aficionados commented on the great variety of jazz repertoire from which to chose, while some novices were introduced to this highly creative music, inspiring new enthusiasts along the way. “Such an amazing array of Jazz music this weekend!” P.L.

Group marching with sign reading "Natasha Hoskin's Stompers"

The Impact of Community Spirit

The weekend Jam Nights overflowed with collaborative spirit. The headliner of the Port show, home-town boy Connor Stewart, now living in New Orleans, and his hot band, generously joined the jam sessions to the delight of an enthusiastic crowd. “Connor was magnificent, welcome home!” K.R.

The weather on Saturday morning could not have been more co-operative for the 200+ colourfully clad musical-walk attendees who followed the 10-piece NIJFA Parade Band under the direction of Natasha Scott, with young Celtic dancer Estelle, who, sporting her rainbow butterfly wings, led the way along Nanaimo’s picturesque waterfront.

Older man and young woman smiling together

Loyal venue partners such as The Port Theatre, The Vault, The Modern and The Nanaimo BAR, were very well attended, while the newest venue introduced this year, The Courtyard at Marriott, hosted a duo for the first time and quickly recognized the value of live music in their establishment. “Love seeing locals out on the town!” K.

Jazz quartet playing brass instruments on stage
Man playing violin next to man singing on stage

Video messages from past students and colleagues such as David Gogo, Victor Bateman and Lynne MacNeil brought elements of nostalgia to the evening, and when the 600+ crowd was asked to stand if they had ever had Bryan as a teacher in their life, half the audience was on their feet. A testament to the impact of community spirit and the importance of mentorship.

Sunday started with the legendary Louise Rose singing the praises of love and kindness which warmed everyone’s heart and readied the crowd for the culmination of the festival: a rousing Dancing in the Streets themed celebration.

Man playing saxophone at the Nanaimo Jazz Festival

The All-Star Concert on Saturday night at the Port Theatre offered a tribute to one of Nanaimo’s most beloved and humble music mentors, Bryan Stovell. Not only was it a highpoint of the festival to witness the upbeat sounds of Steve Jones’ band Decadence, the NMA Big Band, and the Wellington Jazz Band, but the impromptu appearance by Nanaimo’s own Jazz Diva Diana Krall literally sucked the air out of the theatre for a brief moment as the near sell-out audience gasped when she walked out onto the stage! She graciously gave the crowd a song at the piano and then led her favorite teacher Bryan, to his podium to direct his NMA Big Band finale with special guests Phil Dwyer, Carmella Luvisotto and John Capon. “Such a classy evening” MW

The success of this year’s Jazz Festival is owed to many crucial elements working hand in hand.  The volunteers, the production crew, the City, the NIJFA Board of Directors and of course the loyal audiences who came to support the art of jazz in its many forms. Diversity and inclusivity were key festival elements underlining the value of creating space for everyone and fostering an environment of community connectivity.

NIJFA extends their gratitude to the Snuneymuxw Nation and acknowledges the lands upon which the music was performed and enjoyed over the 3-day weekend. And of course, a huge thank you to all the festival sponsors and in-kind supporters. Without their generous assistance, it would be impossible to produce events of this caliber that highlight the vibrant jazz community in Nanaimo.

Last Year's Guest Performers

Nanaimo has a distinguished connection with jazz in its professional performers, some who have achieved national and international recognition as well as its jazz education programs in both the public schools and Vancouver Island University.

Jazz music’s reputation for improvisation, collaboration and camaraderie is legendary in the music world. Nanaimo’s jazz connection is also acclaimed and unique.   This city can rightfully boast a cornucopia of home-grown musical talents. Some have blossomed internationally while others have fostered deep roots, cultivating their passion for music in their community, and nurturing the future generations.

Man playing saxophone on stage
Bonnie Brett singing into microphone on stage

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Play a pivotal role in fostering a thriving jazz culture in Nanaimo. Discover the myriad ways you can contribute, collaborate, and create a lasting impact on the jazz community.

Senior woman volunteering at Nanaimo jazz Fest


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Every artist has a distinct voice waiting to be heard. If jazz is your language, we provide the stage. Submit your work, share your passion, and let the Nanaimo community and the world revel in your artistry.

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A Big Thanks