The Pentastic Hot Jazz Festival continues to be a popular event that attracts dedicated audiences, due to the variety of styles it offers, says president of the annual event.
“We’re into our 18th year and we attribute much of our success to our diversity of our music we provide,” said Michael Campbell. “It’s all called jazz but there are many different kinds of jazz. We offer Dixieland, Big Band/Swing, Zydeco, gospel— there’s something there for every taste.”
The festival takes place Sept. 5 to 7, and once again, people can take advantage of free dance lessons on Sept. 6 at the Shatford Centre. Advanced lessons will be held at 9:30 a.m. while beginner lessons start at 10:30 a.m.
Meanwhile, performance venues include the SS Sicamous, Penticton Trade and Convention Centre, Shatford Centre (all hand-capped accessible) and the Elks Club.
Performances begin at 4:30 p.m. at each of the venues.
Campbell said the society is welcoming three new entertainers this year, including: Blackstick, a band based out of the Lower Mainland and New York. It features saxophone and clarinet player, Evan Arntzen, originally from Chilliwack. Campbell said Arntzen now works out of the New York City area.
“We’re really pleased the he could make it out to be with us,” he said. “It’ll be kind of a first in that he and his grandfather Lloyd (who is Blackstick’s senior member), will be on the same stage.”
Other newcomers are the Penticton-based group Faculty, and a youth band, Curbside Trad Jazz Band from Chilliwack.
“They recently appeared at the Sacramento Jazz Festival, which is kind of the grand-daddy of them all,” said Campbell. “They were the only Canadian band invited. We’re looking forward to having them come.”
Among the favourites returning are: The Terrier Brothers, featuring Tom Hook, Gator Nation, Tom Rigney & Flambeau, Draga’s Dragons with Bob Draga, The Original Wildcat Jass Band, Lance Buller, Grand Dominion Jazz Band and Black Swan Classic Jazz Band, with the vocal talents of Marilyn Keller.
Buller has remained a jazz festival favourite for many years, having played with The Beach Boys, Little Anthony and Bob Marley, and also his own band The Monarchs.
“He does guest gigs with many of the bands that are there,” said Campbell. “He’s a welcome addition to
all the bands he sits in with.”
On Sunday, the free gospel service at the Trade and Convention Centre at 9 a.m. will showcase Keller.
“She is just unbelievable,” said Campbell, who noted a silver collection will be taken at the door with proceeds going towards the music programs at Penticton Secondary and Princess Margaret Secondary.
Tickets are $55 for Friday, $70 for Saturday and $50 for Sunday. An all-event pass it $105.
Tickets can be purchased through www.valleyfirsttix.com at the Best Western Inn Penticton and at the door.