The Vancouver International Jazz Festival is BC’s largest music festival, attracting close to 1800 artists and over half a million jazz enthusiast participants.
In 2021 the event is tentatively scheduled to run from June 25th until July 4th.
Vancouver Jazz Festival
Taking place 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.
Until it got cancelled as a result of the coronavirus, in 2020 the festival was going to run from June 19th to July 1st. Hopefully the event returns in 2021.
For a list of free concerts, see Jazz Concert Line-up.
In most years the Vancouver International Jazz Festival runs from mid-June until Canada Day on July 1st. In 2021, however, the plan is for it to run until the Sunday of July 4th.
Many of the venues are popular clubs and restaurants, and prices 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.
Free Jazz Concerts
In addition to the jazz performances at bars, restaurants and night clubs throughout Metro Vancouver, there are also free concerts including some outside the Vancouver Art Gallery, on Granville Island and at David Lam Park.
The biggest and most impressive free concerts are usually the ones at David Lam Park, when thousands of people typically turn out with their blankets and lawn chairs to enjoy the music, market stalls and beer garden.
The David Lam Park concerts are actually 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 close to 100 free concerts that take place in 2020, 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.
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, although 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.
For a list of free concerts organized by location, see Jazz Festival Concert Venues.
For a chronological list of free concerts during the Jazz Festival, see Jazz Festival Concert Schedule.
For more information 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:
- 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.