The Guelph Jazz Festival was founded in 1994 by a small group of friends who shared a love of jazz and a commitment to the community of Guelph. A three-time recipient of the Lieutenant Governor's Award for the Arts (2001, 2000 & 1997) and the winner of the 2010 Premier's Award for Excellence in the Arts, the Festival has consistently garnered high praise from international jazz critics for presenting the most compelling and innovative accomplishments in jazz and creative improvised music.
At the same time, we have maintained our commitment to the community through affordable ticket prices and free events.
During our 19-year history we've constantly expanded our offerings to include educational community workshops, a Jazz in the Schools Program, selected winter programming, and the launch of our own recording label IntrepidEar.
The festival has long sponsored a colloquium examining jazz within a cultural context, a dynamic forum that has given fruit to an important new book on improvisation The Other Side of Nowhere: Jazz, Improvisation, and Communities in Dialogue.
In 2000 we commissioned our first original work, Passages, a multi-media jazz opera. In 2003 we commissioned our second jazz opera, Québécité, a multi-cultural romance with music by D.D. Jackson and libretto by George Elliott Clarke. In 2004 the Festival commissioned a fairy tale, In Place of Wishes, for children of all ages, written by Robert Pennee with improvised music provided live onstage by five musicians.
The festival's founding and current artistic director is Ajay Heble of Guelph.
Our collaborators believe in the Festival and recognize the cultural and economic impact it has on the city of Guelph. We are grateful to have more generous sponsors than we can thank here, so we encourage you to look at our sponsor page and to support the many businesses and organizations who provide vital support to the Guelph Jazz Festival. Special thanks to our Associate Sponsor, Inbox Marketer; our Lead Sponsor, Meridian Credit Union; and our Lead Hotel Sponsor, The Holiday Inn Guelph Hotel and Conference Centre.