A ‘Pentastic’ weekend as thousands enjoy South Okanagan jazz festival

Southern Californian jazz group Gator Nation entertains those at the Penticton Trade and Convention Centre at the Pentastic Jazz Festival on Saturday, Sept. 10.Southern Californian jazz group Gator Nation entertains those at the Penticton Trade and Convention Centre at the Pentastic Jazz Festival on Saturday, Sept. 10.
Gator Nation at the Pentastic Jazz Festival on Saturday, Sept. 10.Gator Nation at the Pentastic Jazz Festival on Saturday, Sept. 10.
The Penticton Trade and Convention Centre was one of three venues to host the festival.The Penticton Trade and Convention Centre was one of three venues to host the festival.

Penticton was home for everything jazz Saturday afternoon.

More than 3,000 people got their hands on tickets to the Pentastic Jazz Festival this weekend to watch some of North America’s top musicians, mostly from California, perform at three different Penticton venues.

The festival returned for its 26th year on Friday, Sept. 9, after a two-year hiatus, amid the pandemic. Performances from several travelling and local artists are set to conclude Sunday night, Sept. 11.

“It was a very long two years,” said Michael Campbell, the festival’s president. “My wife and I get stopped on the streets with people thanking us for making sure we came back to put this on.”

Along with the strong California contingency of musicians, Campbell says artists from Detroit, Mich., New York City, Washington, Oregon and across Western Canada have made the trip to the Peach City for the occasion.

The Penticton Trade and Convention Centre, S.S. Sicamous and Orchard House played host to the festival, with dozens of music lovers in attendance, who were not afraid to break out their dance moves during the performances.

“We’re thrilled to be back and thrilled to see all of the support we’re getting,” Campbell said. “It’s been very rewarding and we already can’t wait for next year.

“We have fans here from all over North America, even some I’ve met from Denmark and the U.K.”

Musicians scheduled to play at the festival showcased diverse takes on jazz, whether it was Gator Nation’s upbeat, southern-style set or Professor Cunningham and His Old School’s traditional take on the genre.

Campbell has overseen the festival since its inception. This year’s edition, though, will be one he’ll always remember.

“It was a dark period with it not being around,” he said. “It’s just amazing to say that it’s back.”

Jazz music will take over the three aforementioned Penticton venues on Sunday to wrap up the festival, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The full schedule can be found here.

READ MORE: Here’s what’s happening this weekend in Penticton

EntertainmentFestivalJazzLive musicPenticton