10 Awesome Reasons to go to Kaslo Jazz Etc. Festival

10 Awesome Reasons to go to Kaslo Jazz Etc. Festival

This intimate and laid-back world-class music festival has been hosting big names and newly discovered gems of the music business since 1992. 

August 2-4, 2024

Kaslo Jazz Etc Festival will once again make use of the astounding acoustics of Kaslo Bay Park to showcase an array of blues, jazz, latin, folk, world music and much more. The unique floating stage transforms Kaslo Bay Park into a natural green amphitheater and sends live music reverberating out over Kootenay Lake.  All weekend long, world-class musicians perform against a breathtaking backdrop of mountains and sky.

Festival goers dance in the sand, swim around the stage, or relax in the grass and enjoy the delicious offerings of local food and drink vendors.  The intimate, laid-back vibe of this festival seduces audiences and performers alike.  So come discover the magic of the Kaslo Jazz Etc Festival, and the culture of the Kootenay’s in the summer!

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10. The most amazing... toilets!

It has festival toilets like you have never seen before. Early on in the festival's history, Jim Holland (Executive Director of the Kaslo Jazz Etc. Festival), decided there had to be a better alternative to standard 'port-a-potty' toilets. So he and a few others designed and built the first (that we know of) flushing portable toilet system. The toilets are a lot like the toilets you see on airplanes, but the waste is dropped into a large holding tank which can be pumped out as per usual. These festival toilets are clean, ventilated, illuminated, well maintained, and believe it or not, they don't smell. It's a huge difference from the nightmarish experiences often encountered at festivals!

9. It's intimate

There are no big crowds, no rush, no push. Due to the capacity restrictions of the Bay, not to mention the village, the festival stays this way. There's something luxurious and opulent about having this incredible event for the exclusive enjoyment of such a relatively small audience. The absence of drive to expand, combined with over two decades of event experience and the not-for-profit mandate, makes it a real, pure, and smooth August long weekend. Laid-back and relaxed, like a plush lounge chair.

8. The delights of Kaslo

Kaslo is a unique and charming community, worth discovering in its own right. The village is astonishingly rich and vibrant. It has beauty, history and culture in equal measures, as well as a dedicated and passionate population. Everything is small and homegrown, nestled perfectly into the surrounding wilderness. In an age when most people are abandoning rural areas for the material benefits of the city, Kaslo welcomes a steady drift of urban refugees. People arrive searching for a life that feels more real and connected, and end up finding themselves at home in this quaint and pristine little utopia.

7. Nightlife

After the Kaslo Jazz Etc. Festival closes down each evening, the cafés and pubs around town overflow with live shows of their own. Everything is walking distance, so you can ditch your keys for the entire weekend. After the last notes fade out in the bay, patrons meander back towards Kaslo's bustling core to discover all manner of revelry spilling out in the night air. This is where the real, earnest partying happens: all up and down Front Street after the heat of the day is passed, and everyone in town is feeling the happy laziness, and superb flow of the festival vibe.

6. Extraordinary workshops

Workshops with some of the festival's most talented performers. Each day at venues around town, musical discovery is available to aspiring players, and curious amateurs. These workshops are provided freely and are open to anyone. The opportunity to spend time learning from skilled professional musicians in an intimate, personal way is very popular and attendance is "first-come, first-served" so be sure to pick up the program schedule and arrive early.

5. The extraordinary view

Kaslo is tucked away in the majestic folds of the Selkirk mountains. Remote and pristine wilderness is the backdrop of the Kaslo Jazz Etc. Festival. The venue, perched on the shore of Kootenay Lake, extends from the Lake's surface up into the grass and trees and mountain stream at the base of Mount Buchanan. Everywhere around the Bay is naturally beautiful. True, raw wilderness is only a few steps away.

4. The floating stage

Seriously, you can swim around it! Two greenrooms and a few tonnes of light and sound equipment float just a few meters from the sandy shore. The audience has their choice between sandy beach and grassy park, and for the truly intrepid dancers, knee-deep water. Many of the performers who come to the festival, like the patrons, fall in love with the stage. It is surrounded by mountains and lake and sky. Where else in the world can a musician arrive and depart from their performance by canoe?

3. The sound

Kaslo Bay Park has phenomenal acoustics. With the stage floating in the middle, the bay transforms into a natural amphitheater and the music floats clear across the lake. This natural serendipity is what makes the festival such a unique and worthwhile experience for anyone who truly loves music. The sound is clear, pure, true and never forced. It is so perfectly audible, without ever feeling 'loud'. The feeling of being able to reach out and touch the music is unlike anything else in the world.

2. The diverse line-up

This is not just your dad's jazz! This is a "jazz etc" festival. There are no real genre limitations on the music, and there is always a generous helping of blues, latin, world, soul, and funk-rock. The Kaslo Jazz Etc. Festival goes to great lengths to seek out and secure skilled performers who can deliver a truly great show. It's a great place to discover new artists, and to see up-and-coming stars. The music is always impressive, often unexpected, and generally extraordinary.

1. The best hidden gem

It's the best little outdoor jazz (etc) festival in Canada, perhaps beyond. For 23 years, Kaslo has been hosting this successful and somewhat hidden gem. Capacity limitations keep the festival small, but it has still been noticed on the international stage for delivering an exceptionally high-caliber experience. Both USA Today and REUTERS named the Kaslo Jazz Etc. Festival among their 'top ten outdoor music venues in the world.' Not bad for a remote little festival in BC's interior mountain range.

Looking for more?

Explore these captivating live recordings of Kaslo Jazz artists, that took place in 2023 at Propel Studios. Dive into the musical magic and vibrant energy captured in the videos below.

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Make your trip to Kaslo Jazz Festival awesome, find somewhere epic to stay, delicious food and drink, and the perfect spot to chill and relax in our Nelson and Kootenay Lake region. 

#FindingAwesome | #ExploreKootenayLake

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