The Sasktel Saskatchewan Jazz Festival is one of the most anticipated events to hit Saskatoon each summer. For 10 days, ‘Jazz Fest' occupies Saskatoon to showcase hundreds of talented artists from around the globe. This year was no exception! There are five free stages, and 10 ticketed stages scattered around bridge city. I wandered over to the PotashCorp Club Jazz Free Stage in Friendship Park for an evening of great local and international music.
When I arrived, I was pleased to see that one of my favourite local bands, Young Benjamins, was set to take the stage. A cross between folk and indie-rock, this up-and-coming band doesn’t stop playing at the edge of Saskatoon. They just returned from Sled Island Music Festival in Calgary, and are lined up to take part in Hillside Festival in Guelph, Ontario later this summer. Despite their busy schedule, they still have found the time to partake in this year’s Sasktel Saskatchewan Jazz Festival as well as the Ness Creek Music Festival in Big River, Saskatchewan in July.
Following Young Benjamins was the Jazz-funk band, Outer Bridge Ensemble. With members hailing from New York, Brooklyn, Prince Albert, and Saskatoon, they had a unique sound that filled the park. The combination of trumpet, piano, trombone, guitar, drums and bongos was a pleasure to listen to!
Friendship Park, located on the west bank of the South Saskatchewan River, just south of the Broadway Bridge, proved to be an excellent location for the PotashCorp Club Jazz Free Stage. The grassy area was sheltered by surrounding trees while leaving enough room for a healthy-sized beer garden. A number of vendors bordered the park, selling everything from salmon burgers and cinnamon-glazed nuts to band merchandise and hand-beaded purses. There was also a complimentary bike valet run by Saskatoon Cycles where bikers could stow away their rides while attending the festival.
I couldn’t think of a better way to spend a gorgeous June evening than by listening to great music in the heart of Saskatoon! The Sasktel Saskatchewan Jazz Festival continues for another seven days, so you have plenty of opportunities to head out to Friendship Park and soak up this experience for yourself!