Published: Jun 14, 2011

Tourism Saskatoon pleased with the continued draw of major artists to the SaskTel Saskatchewan Jazz Festival


SASKATOON, SK - June 14, 2011 - Saskatoon proudly hosts the 2011 SaskTel Saskatchewan Jazz Festival, marking its 25th anniversary June 24 to July 3. An impressive line-up of world-renowned artists has been announced, including Macy Gray, Aaron Neville, Arrested Development, Béla Fleck & The Flecktones, Tegan and Sara, and Saskatoon’s own The Sheepdogs.

Held annually in Saskatoon, the 10-day festival will feature over 140 performances of music genres including jazz, blues, funk, world music, and pop – which will equate to over 176 hours of live music.

“The community has really embraced the jazz festival over the past 25 years. And as our community grows, the festival will be right there, reflecting the community’s interests, eccentricities, and vast diversity,” says Kevin Tobin, Artistic Director of the SaskTel Saskatchewan Jazz Festival.

Canadian jazz piano legend Oliver Jones, who performed at the first jazz festival, has been commissioned to write and present a new piece of work entitled Saskatchewan Suite. Jones will perform the composition for the first time Sunday, June 26 at the Broadway Theatre with the 17-piece Metro Jazz Ensemble.

“The growth of the festival has been remarkable, enabling us to bring world-class artists to Saskatoon as well as showcase our local talent. The mix of musical genres offered is designed to attract, engage and inspire a growing and diverse audience within and beyond the borders of Saskatoon and Saskatchewan,” says Tobin

2010 was a record year for ticket sales, and these are currently up approximately 30% over the same time last year. The SaskTel Saskatchewan Jazz Festival contributes an estimated $4.5 million to the local economy. It is the second largest jazz festival in Western Canada, and fifth largest in the country. More than 70,000 visitors attended the festival in 2010.

“We wish the Jazz Festival a great 25th anniversary. The calibre of the artists confirmed creates a powerful draw for tourism to our city. We’re looking forward to welcoming visitors from all over Saskatchewan and beyond,” says JoAnne Wasko, Director of Markets, Advertising & Media with Tourism Saskatoon.

The festival’s 40 ticketed concerts and 76 free performances will take place in venues downtown and in the Broadway Avenue district. Tickets may be purchased online at, by calling 306-652-4700 or toll-free 1-800-638-1211, or in person at the Festival Box Office, Delta Bessborough Hotel Lobby, 601 Spadina Crescent East, Saskatoon.

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For more information, please contact:

Kelly Bertoncini
Manager, Media Relations

Tourism Saskatoon

Direct: 306-931-7585

JoAnne Wasko
Director of Markets, Advertising & Media
Tourism Saskatoon
Direct: 306-931-7572

About Tourism Saskatoon

Tourism Saskatoon is a membership-based, non-profit visitor and convention bureau marketing Saskatoon and region as a destination of choice for leisure and business travel. Services include convention and events attraction, media relations, and membership services and advocacy. One of a few destinations in Canada, Tourism Saskatoon holds Destination Marketing Accreditation by Destination Marketing Association International. Nicknamed “the hub city” for its numerous domestic and international transportation connections, Saskatoon is known for its expansive parklands and admired for its arts and culture scene, festivals and major sporting events. For more information, visit  

About the Saskatchewan Jazz Festival
The Saskatchewan Jazz Festival (SJF) was incorporated in 1992 and is owned by the Saskatoon Jazz Society. The mandate of the SJF is to stage an artistically significant annual festival of jazz and related music. The first festival took place in Saskatoon during the summer of 1987. Today, 25 years later, it has become the second largest festival of its kind in Western Canada. The SJF is a non-profit organization and registered charity, governed by a board of directors. It employs a permanent staff of three, and recruits over 200 volunteers each year for the 10 days of the festival. For more information, visit


Among the others confirmed, these artists have won the hearts – and ears – of many, and their performances in Saskatoon during the SaskTel Saskatchewan Jazz Festival are much anticipated.

Aaron Neville
Over the past five decades, the indelible spirit of New Orleans has been synonymous with the musical dynasty known as the Neville Brothers. For Aaron Neville the solo artist, there is an equally intimate connection between his music and the faith that has sustained him for his entire life. Through challenge and tragedy, he’s managed to thrive, protecting both his heart and his voice. Ask him how and he says simply this: “He who sings once, prays twice.”

“My Momma, Amelia Landry Neville, always taught the golden rule to us — to treat others as we would like to be treated,” he shares. “One of her favourite sayings was this: ‘I’ll only pass this way once. Therefore any goodness or kindness I can show let me do it now. Let me not defer or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.’”

Arrested Development
Arrested Development is a progressive rap collective fusing soul, blues, hip-hop, and Sly & the Family Stone-influenced funk with political, socially-conscious lyrics. They became known for rocking samples, live instruments, bold scratching and organic sounds to form their blend of Hip Hop. The group describes their sound as “life music.” Arrested Development respects women, and promotes family, spirituality and “male responsibility.” They are about consciousness, the earth, African self-determination and love.

The things that are unique about Arrested Development are too many to number. They live in an alternate world where little kids sing hip hop choruses and 75-year-old men hang around with young folk and bang out hip hop beats. Arrested Development formed in rural Atlanta, Georgia, way before the advent of the present “Dirty South” craze. With a collage of bass, drums, guitar, percussion, turntables, vocals, and dancers, the group of artists brew a potent concoction of hip hop, funk, soul, jazz and folk.

Béla Fleck & The Flecktones
Ground-breaking banjoist / composer / bandleader Béla Fleck has reconvened the original Béla Fleck & The Flecktones, the extraordinary initial line-up of his incredible combo. Their latest tour, timed to coincide with the release of their new album Rocket Science, welcomes pianist and harmonica player Howard Levy back in the fold alongside Fleck, bassist Victor Wooten, and percussionist Roy “Futureman” Wooten.

Far from being a wistful trip back in time, their latest album, Rocket Science, sees the Grammy Award-winning quartet creating some of the most forward thinking music of their long, storied career. While all manners of genres come into play — from classical and jazz to bluegrass and African music to electric blues and Eastern European folk dances — the result is an impossible to pigeonhole sound all their own, a meeting of musical minds that remains, as ever, utterly indescribable. Simply put, it is The Flecktones, the music made only when these four individuals come together.

Macy Gray
Two-time Grammy award winner Macy Gray will return to the jazz festival after stunning last year’s audience during her incredible Saskatchewan debut.

The R&B and soul artist, famed for her distinctive raspy voice and a signing style influenced by Billy Holiday, was actually born Natalie McIntyre in Canton, OH, and grew up a shy, awkward youngster who was frequently teased about her odd-sounding voice. She studied classical piano for seven years, but also soaked up the music of soul legends like Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, and Aretha Franklin, not to mention old-school hip hop and rock n’ roll, all of which are reflected in her energetic live performances.

Oliver Jones
Twenty-five years ago, pianist Oliver Jones performed at the very first Saskatchewan Jazz Festival. Since then, the Montreal-born musician has become a Canadian jazz legend, recording twenty albums, winning a Juno Award, and becoming a member of the Order of Canada.

To commemorate the 25th anniversary, Oliver returns to the jazz festival to premiere a special new composition, Saskatchewan Suite. He will be joined by his trio members Eric Legacé (bass) and Jim Doxas (drums), as well as Saskatoon’s 17-piece Metro Jazz Ensemble, led by artistic director and trumpeter Dean McNeill and conducted by Roy Sydiaha. They will also perform selections from the music of Oscar Peterson and Duke Ellington, as well as other original compositions.

The Sheepdogs
While most rock bands are all too focused on the riff, The Sheepdogs remember the importance of those other elements that make for great rock music: melody, harmony and groove. To see them live is pure rock and roll jubilation, to revel in the splendour created by three part vocal harmonies and heavy hitting dual guitar leads. Their latest album, Learn & Burn, is a beautiful blend of power and imagination, ranging from ferocious rockers to southern boogie and grooving psychedelia. Big guitars, stacked harmonies, vintage organ and piano skilfully colour each of the album’s 15 tracks, proving that these boys are as dedicated to the craft of song writing and album making as they are to playing a dynamite live show.

The Sheepdogs are in the final round of voting for Rolling Stone magazine’s Choose the Cover contest. The only Canadian band in the running from the beginning is up against Lelia Broussard of Los Angeles, CA. Voting closes July 1. The winner will be the first unsigned band to ever appear on the cover of the magazine, and will also receive a recording contract from Atlantic Records.

The Sheepdogs will be performing on Canada Day at this year’s SaskTel Saskatchewan Jazz Festival. They’ll be joined by another hometown favourite, Jordan Cook, for a July 1 double bill outdoors on the TD Mainstage.

Tegan and Sara
Indie folk-rock duo Tegan and Sara are returning to Saskatoon, this time jumping on an outdoors stage with a four-piece acoustic band. They last played in Saskatoon in January 2010 when they electrified a sold-out crowd at TCU Place.

Tegan and Sara first burst onto the Canadian music scene in 1998, when they earned the highest score in history at Calgary’s Garage Warz competition. Their quick rise didn’t stop, for their melodic acoustics and charming stage personas led to a slew of dates with Sarah McLachlan’s Lilith Fair that same year and a record deal with Neil Young’s Vapor Records in April 2000.

Natives of Calgary, these twin sisters transpired their music interests from the likings of their parents. Tegan and Sara began playing piano at age eight, and in their teens they were skanking around in their own punk bands. This Business of Art, which was produced by singer and songwriter Hawksley Workman, marked their debut in mid-2000, and a summer tour with Neil Young and the Pretenders followed in July.

101-202 Fourth Avenue North, Saskatoon, SK S7K 0K1
Phone: (306) 242-1206 | Fax: (306) 242-1955 | 1-800-567-2444