An iconic Markham music festival is back in action this summer after two virtual seasons, just in time to celebrate its 25th anniversary.
On August 19, 20 and 21, the TD Markham Jazz Festival returns to Unionville with three days of live jazz and jazz-related performances.
More than two dozen shows will be presented on three stages from one end of Main St. to the other. Each artist plays for 90 minutes, and all the music is free.
“This is a key year for us to restore our place on the summer festival calendar for music lovers from across Southern Ontario,” notes Festival Chair Linda Briggs. “We know there’s a tremendous desire to experience live music again, and nothing rivals strolling up and down Main Street Unionville, in and out of great restaurants and shops, on your way to another superb performance.”
To mark the festival’s quarter-century milestone and return to in-person music, the City of Markham has proclaimed August 13–21 “Celebrate Jazz Week.” Before and during the main festival in Unionville, bands are performing in several restaurants and businesses around Markham, known as “Jazz Hot Spots.” Venues include Rouge River Brewing Co., Colonel Mustard’s and Costa Sorrento, among many.
Another highlight is the annual opening night concert and reception on Wednesday, August 17 on the grounds of the Markham Museum. It is the only ticketed event of the festival. Along with hearing the Juno-winning Montreal group Manteca, guests will enjoy a silent auction, cash bar and snacks. Planned for outdoors, the event has an indoor option in case of weather.
For the festival weekend in Unionville, the 2022 lineup is filled with award-winning Canadian artists – both long-established and emerging talents.
Friday evening, August 19, kicks off at the Millennium Bandstand with Emily Steinwall, just-named winner of the 2022 SOCAN Songwriting Prize, followed by Shakura S’Aida, a dynamic singer who earned the “Blues with a Feeling” Award at the 2022 Maple Blues Awards. Shakura last headlined at the festival in 2017.
Saturday and Sunday feature continuous music from noon, starting in the courtyard of the Varley Art Gallery. In the garden behind the McKay Art House, listeners can sit with a glass of wine or beer as musicians play. Headlining on Saturday evening at the Bandstand is Juno-winning vocalist (and Order of Canada recipient) Molly Johnson, playing with renowned pianist Robi Botos and bassist Mike Downes.
To make it easy to walk between stages and visit craft vendors, the street will be closed to traffic on Saturday and Sunday between Carlton Rd. and the bypass road on the south – from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Saturday and to 7 p.m. Sunday. A portion of Fred Varley Drive will be closed Friday evening and on the weekend.
Visit markhamjazzfestival.com for the full schedule, plus “Jazz Hot Spots” locations and times, artist bios and other details.
Main Photo: Back after two virtual seasons, the TD Markham Jazz Festival features more than 25 jazz-related acts, including Alex Pangman and the Sweet Hots – all free of charge – on three stages along Main St. Unionville, plus in “Hot Spots” around Markham. Story submitted by Christie Day.