News Local

Festival more than just jazz

By Tyler Orton, 24 Hours Vancouver

The curtain opens on the Vancouver International Jazz Festival Friday as more than 1,800 musicians from around the world are descending upon the city for the annual 10-day groove fest.

Spokesman John Orsyk said the festival, which is relocating from Gastown to the Vancouver Art Gallery and Robson Square this year, is the first large-scale downtown event since the Olympics.

"It's going to be something that will really have a lasting effect on the city," he said, adding the festival features a mix of legendary performers such as singer/guitarist George Benson, as well as newcomers like singer Janelle Monae.

Orsyk adds the festival also offers "real adventurous listeners" cutting edge and experimental music at its Innovation Series. Dutch drummer Han Bennink - known for beating sticks against chairs and even his own body - is appearing this year.

Vancouver DJ Kid Koala will also be at the Vogue Theatre to showcase his Space Cadet Headphone Experience, where audiences will literally plug in headphones for a multimedia performance.

The festival has drawn more than 500,000 music lovers over the last few years and Orsyk hopes to attract similar numbers in the new location despite the mixed weather forecast for the coming week.