Despite an initial plan to start with a live event, the East York Jam Fest was forced to shift online, but now with the decline of the pandemic, the festival is once again moving toward live performances for the first time.
The EYJF was created by the Beaches Jazz Festival, which is Canada’s largest free jazz festival, with a plan to expand their audience and their library of music which would not be limited to jazz.
“It’s basically a musical showcase of different styles,” said Lido Chilelli, Beaches Jazz Festival producer.
Last year at the East York Jam Fest
The EYJF in 2021 was a virtual event due to the pandemic but received a positive reception from viewers.
Musicians that participated, like Old Man Flanagan’s Ghost, were more mixed on the virtual setting.
“While it was exciting to be involved, it was very far removed from the experience of performing live,” the band reported online. “In fact, while we saw positive comments and appreciative ‘likes,’ the reception itself was very hard to gauge in a virtual environment.”
It was different from performing before a live crowd where you can see who is engaged and enjoying it, according to the band. “That said, people did seem appreciative.”
The EYJF in 2021 ran Aug. 27–28 with a large lineup of musicians and bands who had their performances pre-recorded.
Shifting back to live events
For this year, EYJF announced it will be moving to live performances on March 26–27, which will mark the first time that the festival will be held in person. Bands such as Old Man Flanagan’s Ghost are thrilled that they’ll be presenting live on stage.
“Shifting back to live is surreal!” the band said. “To be back on a stage, engaging with a crowd, seeing them together again and enjoying the company and live music again really bridges the social gap we’ve experienced the last two years.”
The EYJF also celebrates all things East York by bringing the community closer together and showing off the local bands and musicians, Lido said.
“And it’s another way to celebrate the end of the pandemic,” he said.
There is no fee to attend the event nor an age limit, so everyone is free to enter the festival.
To join the festival as a band or musician you just need to submit the piece you would like to perform on their website.