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Penticton’s Pentastic Jazz Festival is back with a new western twang

The festival kicks off on Sept. 8, with a free outreach concert at 2 p.m.
Tom Rigney and Flambeau, a favourite at the Pentastic Hot Jazz Festival, will be back for the 25th presentation of the festival. (Western News file photo)

September 8, marks the start of the 25th Pentastic Jazz and Music Festival in Penticton.

Though the festival officially kicked off 27 years ago, 2023 will mark the 25th presentation of bands after a hiatus between 2020 and 2021.

“We’re very happy and proud to still be here, 27 years after we started,” said festival president Michael Campbell.

This year’s festival marks the continued success of an initiative that started as a way of extending the tourist season in the city just a little longer.

“We noticed on Labour Day people always turned the lights off and started to close for winter, and my wife said ‘Why don’t we come up with something to add just one week to the season,’” said Campbell. “The rest is history.”

The festival will run over three days, from September 8 to 10. It all kicks off with a free outreach concert at Princess Margaret High School on Sept. 8 at 2 p.m.

Everyone is invited to get a taste for the festival at the free outreach concert before heading down to main show.

The festival also puts on a free gospel service on Sept. 10 at 9 a.m.

The whole show wouldn’t be able to happen without the army of over a hundred volunteers who work as ‘ambassadors of good will’ for the festival.

From the high-energy Zydeco-Cajun style of music to Rockabilly, New Orleans Dixie, to Big Band, the festival is introducing a new genre to the mix this year after they changed things up a little in 2022.

“We changed our name to the Pentastic Hot Jazz and Musical festival because that opened up the doors to let separate types of music in,” said Campbell.

The main new addition this year is Western Swing, which will be represented by artist Carolyn Martin and her band.

Many of the other bands are returning favourites, and that has been a feature of the festival since the start.

“Part of the way we hire bands is looking at our exit surveys and inviting back the top bands,” said Campbell. “Then we go and find some more so we have new blood in.”

The festival brings in people from across Canada and the United States.

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

The bands announced so far include:

• Memphis Speed Kings

• Dave Bennett Quartet

• Tom Rigney & Flambeau

• GROOVUS-(Holland, Coots and Pikel)

• Professor Cunningham and the Old School

• Carolyn Martin’s Western Swing Band

• Tom Hook and The Hounds

• South Okanagan Big Band

For more information, visit the festival’s website at

Ticket holders can also enjoy a free shuttle service between the festivals various venues, with pick up and drop offs at the concert sites.

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Brennan Phillips

About the Author: Brennan Phillips

Brennan was raised in the Okanagan and is thankful every day that he gets to live and work in one of the most beautiful places in Canada.
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