The theme for this year’s Wreckhouse International Jazz and Blues Festival is fun, New Orleans-style.
That’s what organizers hope to present throughout the festival, which opens in St. John’s tonight and runs until Saturday.
They’re even bringing in a genuine New Orleans act — Soul Rebels Brass Band — as one of the headliners.
“In the past, people have told us the (Wreckhouse) festival reminds them of the New Orleans Jazz Festival,” said Wreckhouse representative Liz Dunbar. “You can hop and bop between clubs to the different shows, and the energy is very much on the street. We’re honoured to have that comparison made. We’re wanting to get all the fun and music out into the street.”
To add to the Louisiana atmosphere, the festival has its own brass band made up of local jazz music students which will roam the streets downtown during the daytime throughout the festival, playing some New Orleans tunes.
There aren’t as many shows during this year’s festival as last year, but there’s a good mix of intimate gigs and larger shows, local talent and acts from away.
Performers like Charlie A’Court, Alejandra Ribera, Dominic Mancuso and Parc X Trio will take the stage alongside locals like Bill Brennan, Brad Jefford Trio+, Denis Parker, Katie Hopkins, Forgotten Bouzouki and more.
Wes Mackey, known as one of the godfathers of the blues, will also perform.
Shine On, a jazz ensemble which interprets songs by John Lennon and The Beatles, will share the stage with the Patrick Boyle Trio at the LSPU Hall Saturday night.
“All the show times are staggered, so if you get a festival pass it’s possible to go and see more artists this year. Almost all shows have a local artist opening for them, so it’s a nice way to give them an opportunity to perform with some travelling artists,” Dunbar said.
Tonight, the festival will kick off with Bill Brennan and The Bill Evans Project: DBLT at the LSPU Hall starting at 8 p.m., and continue with Scott Goudie and Wes Mackey at the Fat Cat Blues Bar at 9:30 p.m.
Tickets for individual shows are available at the LSPU Hall box office, by calling 753-4531, or online at rca.nf.ca.
A festival pass is $75 (plus tax and surcharge) and will give holders access to all 24 acts at the five festival venues.
A full festival schedule is available online at wreckhousejazzandblues.com.