Marilyn Keller belts out a gospel standard with the Black Swan Classic Jazz Band at the free Sunday gospel service during last year’s Pentastic Hot Jazz and Music Festival. This year, Pentastic is back from Sept. 6 to 9 at venues around the community. (Western News file photo)

South Okanagan jazz and music festival swings into 23rd year

The live music festival in Penticton has expanded with an additional venue this year

The Pentastic Hot Jazz and Music Festival returns for its 23rd year with three days of music that’s sure to get you on your feet.

“Come early and stay late, because it’s a party. That’s the motto,” said organizer Michael Campbell of the festival which runs Sept. 6 to 8.

Every year the festival changes up the lineup of bands to keep the music fresh for returning patrons. This year’s 11 bands (including The Black Market Trust, Dave Bennett and the Memphis Speed Kings, Tom Rigney and Flambeau, Dave Bennett Quartet, Gator Nation, Lance Buller, Cocuzzi Coots Courtet and many more) also have an additional stage to play on, with the Orchard House joining the SS Sicamous, the Elks Hall and the Penticton Trade and Convention Centre.

The festival offers a wide variety of styles and performers, with something for everyone.

READ MORE: New name but still a party at Pentastic

“We serve up different kinds of jazz. Dixieland, big band swing, zydeco, Gypsy jazz, gospel, and rockabilly. We have virtually everything for every taste in jazz with the exception of cool jazz,” said Campbell. “You can’t tap your feet or snap your fingers to modern or cool jazz, but you can to all the others we have.”

The festival draws fans from all over the world. People from as far away as Holland, Michigan and even a contingent from New Orleans make their way out to Penticton for the festival.

Particular highlights of the festival include the opening ceremony on Sept. 6. The ceremony takes place in the ‘French Quarter’ in the Trade and Convention Centre. On Sept. 7 at 8 p.m., the 19-piece South Okanagan Big Band is a special guest for a performance in the French Quarter.

The other highlights include a special outreach performance at Princess Margaret Secondary School band, featuring Gino and the Lone Gunmen on Sept. 6. This performance is free and starts at 1:30 p.m.

On Sunday, Sept. 8, the festival starts the day with a gospel service that is free for all to attend.

Finally, the closing ceremony on Sept. 8 draws some of the biggest crowds of the festival.

“At the end, we have four bands on stage, and they have a bit of a jam session,” said Campbell. “It gets everybody moving, and then we have the parasol parade during closing ceremonies too. We have any number of people who bring their parasols, then they snake their way through the room.”

Tickets for the Pentastic Hot Jazz and Music Festival are available now from Valley First Tix. A pass for all days of the festival is $115, Friday only is $65, Saturday $80, and Sunday $60.

Youth are able to get a special $10 ticket per day, as long as they are accompanied by at least one adult.

A full schedule for each of the five venues is available at the festival website at pentasticjazz.com.

To report a typo, email: [email protected].


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