A 360 View of the 2010 Wreckhouse International Jazz & Blues Festival

July 29, 2010

By Simon Miminis

Simon performed in several groups including the Al Robmon Quintet at 2010 WIJBF

This year marked another great year for our festival. We brought in some of our best performers to date and put off some of the best shows we’ve ever hosted. It was a real treat to be a part of this organization during this time and in that time I have seen this festival from many angles. I’ve been a performer, a staff member and like all of you I’ve been part of many of the wonderful and welcoming audiences that have made our festival a favourite amongst touring musicians. So, as you can imagine, festival week was a rather busy time for me.

As a performer, I had the opportunity to play with several groups spanning a variety of music. Greek music on Wednesday, Contemporary Jazz on Sunday and Film Scoring Sunday night… What a week! The venues were wonderful to play in, (with a special nod to Yellow Belly) and as an assistant to our logistics department I could appreciate the back line we were provided. With a couple of exceptions, I believe our artists appreciated it as well. With 200 artists you can imagine how difficult it is to please everyone! A unique experience for me however was definitely the Nickel Film Festival portion of our festival’s closing ceremonies. If you didn’t make it down I strongly suggest you do next year! Watching some of Newfoundland‘s most talented musicians score these films year after year in a live setting is not only interesting and fun to listen to but also inspiring. It definitely gave me a new perspective on scoring for film (an area which I’ve become more involved in over the last few years) and the importance of improvisation in scoring which is an essential part of a good score.

As an audience member I had the pleasure of seeing some absolutely fantastic bands and artists. Anyone who attended this year’s festival can definitely confirm this. Watching Matt Anderson sing and play the blues by himself was a real treat, Creaking Tree String Quartet blast through some beautiful blue grass pieces was marvelous and seeing Rinsethealgorithm tear through some back breaking grooves was as always a pleasure. Unfortunately, being a staff member also only allowed me to catch pockets of shows as there was always something that needed to be done, but from what I did manage to see I definitely felt that this year’s artists blew me away and I’m sure that next year will only be better.

Which leads me to working here. As a staff member you realize how much work is put into a festival such as ours. We’re by no means the biggest, but even at our stage in the game the challenges to putting off a festival of our size is still immense. Harder still is trying to promote a jazz festival in a province that doesn’t have a booming jazz scene. However, since the inception of our festival and with the hard work of our staff I have seen jazz music (and styles that fall under this very large umbrella) slowly become more prominent in the minds of Newfoundlanders, we hope this only grows in the future.

So, to say the least, my view on this festival has definitely been multi-faceted and in seeing it in the way that I have I believe that all of our efforts in Marketing, Logistics, Transportation, Volunteering, etc are working in shaping a jazz festival that’s constantly growing and bringing more great music to our province year after year. Hope to see you next year at WJB Fest 2011!


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