The Vancouver International Jazz Festival is BC’s largest music festival. It attracts close to 1800 artists and over half a million jazz enthusiasts.
Last year the event took place in both live and virtual formats. It ran from June 25th until July 4th. In 2022 the festival runs from June 24th until July 3rd.
JAZZ FESTIVAL IN FORT LANGELY
The Vancouver International Jazz Festival isn’t the only festival of its kind in the Lower Mainland. The Odlum Brown Fort Langley Jazz & Arts Festival is another exceptional event. It features both ticketed and free concerts as well as public art displays.
If you like Jazz, the Fort Langley festival is one you really don’t want to miss. Many of the same bands play at both the Vancouver and Fort Langley events.
Vancouver Jazz Festival
Taking place during the last couple of weeks in June each year, the Vancouver International Jazz Festival usually consists of some 300 concerts at close to three dozen venues over the course of two weeks.
The Vancouver International Jazz Festival typically runs from mid-June until Canada Day on July 1st. In years when there isn’t a global pandemic, many of the venues are popular clubs and restaurants. Prices typically range from free to close to $100 a ticket. Many of the club and restaurant venues are free (assuming you pay to eat and drink) while others have cover charges.
For a list of free concerts that are available in normal years, see Jazz Concert Line-up.
Jazz Festivals in 2021 and 2022
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Vancouver International Jazz Festival happened in an online format in 2021. In 2022 the 36th edition of the festival takes place from Thursday, June 24th, until Sunday, July 3rd.
2021 Virtual Festival
Last year the festival featured over 100 events for folks to enjoy from home. Three main streaming packages were available for purchase. Passes for individual streams cost $11 while each package of 9 or 10 shows cost about $50.
The Pyatt Hall Series package featured streams of performances at 7:00 pm every day during the festival. Other shows were scheduled to take place in-person at Frankie’s Jazz Club at 7:30 pm, with a cover charge of $20 each. However, depending on provincial COVID-19 guidelines at the time, the shows may have taken place virtually instead.
The Performance Works Series package featured 9 streamed concerts that began at 8:00 pm most days during the festival.
Lastly, the Innovation Series at Ironworks package included access to 10 streams of performances that began at 9:00 pm daily throughout the festival.
Online access to all scheduled virtual shows and programs in the 2021 festival cost $175. All streams were available online until the night of July 6th.
2022 Jazz Festival
The Vancouver Jazz Festival will likely feature live, in-person concerts. The festival’s dates for this year are June 24th to July 3rd. The same as usual, it runs over the Canada Day Long Weekend plus a few days before.
Exact details for this year are to be confirmed. Stay tuned for more information!
Free Jazz Concerts
In addition to the jazz performances at bars, restaurants and night clubs throughout Metro Vancouver, there are also free concerts that usually take place. Some happen outside the Vancouver Art Gallery, on Granville Island and at David Lam Park.
In normal years, the biggest and most impressive free concerts are usually the ones at David Lam Park. Thousands of people turn out with their blankets and lawn chairs to enjoy the music, market stalls and beer garden.
The David Lam Park concerts are quite impressive, making them one of Vancouver’s best places to be on a sunny day if you like Jazz. Also of considerable size are the free concerts outside the Vancouver Art Gallery on Georgia Street and Robson.
For a list of all the free concerts that took place in 2021, see Jazz Concert Venues.
Tips and Advice
Below are some tips and suggestions to help you make the most out of your Vancouver Jazz Festival experience in normal years.
TIP #1: If going to David Lam Park for the free concert, if it’s an especially hot day you might want to take an umbrella of some sort as shade is at a premium. With that said there is conveniently lots of shade and covered areas at the beer garden.
TIP #2: David Lam Park is right on False Creek which is one of Vancouver’s best places to walk or cycle along. Consider going for a stroll or bike ride along the Seawall either before or after your time at the jazz festival. Parking in the area will be at a premium, so parking further away and walking a bit is a great idea, unless you’re carrying lawn chairs and lots of picnic materials.
TIP #3: Also happening at the same time as the Vancouver Jazz Festival in 2022 are performances by the Royal Canadian International Circus. This year the circus is in in Surrey between June 23rd and 26th and in Richmond from June 30th to July 3rd. It’s a great circus, and very affordable. What’s more? If you use the promo code VANSBESTPLACES when purchasing your tickets online you can get 2-for-1 pricing on general admission.
For a list of free concerts organized by location that usually take place, see Jazz Festival Concert Venues.
For a chronological list of free concerts during the Jazz Festival, see Jazz Festival Concert Schedule.
To learn more about the festival see the Coastal Jazz website.
Other Free Summer Music Venues
If you like outdoor live bands, other venues offering various genres of music at different times in the summer include the following (or at least they do in years without pandemics):
- Friday evenings with music and other entertainment in July and August at North Vancouver’s Civic Plaza, Lynn Valley Village and Parkgate Plaza as part of that city’s Summer Concert Series.
- Friday evenings from early May until late September at the Shipyard Night Market in North Vancouver.
- Nightly in late August and early September at the Pacific National Exhibition (PNE) where the concerts are included with the cost of admission to the fair.
- Click Free Summer Concerts for a list of even more free music venues in July and August.