The Vancouver International Jazz Festival offers numerous FREE concerts in downtown Vancouver, on Granville Island, in Yaletown and on the North Shore.
Free Jazz concerts take place at the venues listed below on various days between around the third week of June and Canada Day each year. In 2020, the festival was scheduled to run from June 19th until July 1st. Due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus that shut down much of Vancouver beginning in the spring, however, the festival in 2020 was unfortunately cancelled.
2021 JAZZ FESTIVAL
The 2021 Vancouver International Jazz Festival takes place both online and in-person from June 25th to July 4th. Folks can access online streams for $11 each or buy packages of streams for about $50.
There are around 60 free shows on offer this year. This doesn’t include a few that are online-only.
This article contains information about the following venues:
Click on any of the above links to jump to a specific location, or continue reading to learn about all the different concerts across Vancouver and the North Shore. Or, for a list of free concerts organized by date, click Jazz Festival Music Lineup.
Vancouver’s Free Jazz Venues
In years when it isn’t cancelled due to pandemics, the Vancouver International Jazz Festival offers free concerts every day between around June 20th and July 1st (plus or minus a few days).
Below is a list of around five dozen free Jazz concerts for 2021 that are sorted by location. There is a lot less of a variety in concert venues this year compared to past festivals due to the pandemic.
Festival venues in more normal years include the plazas outside the Vancouver Art Gallery, at St. Andrew’s Wesley on Burrard, on a number of different stages on Granville Island, in Yaletown and on the North Shore.
Below you’ll find the list of free performances organized by location. For a list of free concerts sorted by date, see the Jazz Music Lineup.
For more information on the festival in general, see the Vancouver International Jazz Festival.
Note: concert dates, times, performers and other details may vary.
Ironworks Theatre Concerts
A regular venue for the festival since 2017, the Vancouver International Jazz Festival is holding a free concert all ten days of the festival at the Ironworks Stage which is located at 235 Alexander Street in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. All the performances start at 4:30 pm.
- Alvaro Rojas’ Music for 22 – June 25th, 2021
- Burrows/Carter/Loewen/Reed – June 26th, 2021
- Jeff Younger’s Dreaming Skies – June 27th, 2021
- Chris Gestrin’s Shadows Quartet – June 28th, 2021
- Stop Time III – June 29th, 2021
- Wawona – June 30th, 2021
- Lisa Cay Miller/Ben Brown/Feven Kidane – July 1st, 2021
- Assertion – July 2nd, 2021
- Torsten Muller’s Particle Storm – July 3rd, 2021
- Eli Davidovici – July 4th, 2021
Tom Lee Music Hall
Located at 929 Granville Street, the Tom Lee Music Hall is unique in that the events taking place during the Jazz Festival are different workshops rather than proper concerts. Most of the artists running these workshops are also performing on a different date and at a different venue. All six free workshops in 2021 start at 3:30.
- Róisín Adams Workshop – June 27th, 2021
- Itamar Erez Workshop – June 28th, 2021
- Quincy Mayes Workshop – June 29th, 2021
- Gavin Youngash Workshop – June 30th, 2021
- Ayla Tesler-Mabe Workshop – July 1st, 2021
- Sharon Minemoto Workshop – July 2nd, 2021
The Western Front
A new stage for this year’s festival, the Western Front is located at 303 East 8th Avenue. There are three days of free shows at the venue, with multiple local performers doing somewhat shorter sets in each.
- Kevin McNeilly – June 26th, 2021 (1:30 pm)
- Fay Victor – June 26th, 2021 (3:00 pm)
- Darius Jones Workshop – June 26th, 2021 (4:30 pm)
- Why Choir – July 3rd, 2021 (1:30 pm)
- Marina Hasselberg – July 3rd, 2021 (3:00 pm)
- Sean Cronin – July 3rd, 2021 (4:30 pm)
- Gordon Grdina – July 3rd, 2021 (6:00 pm)
- George Crotty – July 4th, 2021 (1:30 pm)
- Meredith Bates – July 4th, 2021 (3:00 pm)
- Alvaro Rojas (solo) – July 4th, 2021 (4:30 pm)
- The Giving Shapes – July 4th, 2021 (6:00 pm)
Granville Island Locations
Free Jazz concerts also take place daily on Granville Island during the Vancouver International Jazz Festival at a few locations. Most years there are also free Canada Day concerts at various spots on Granville Island on the July long weekend.
Ocean Art Works Stage Concerts
An outdoor pavilion with a roof overhead, Ocean Art Works is located at 1531 Johnston Street on Granville Island. It’s a new venue for the festival this year and, interestingly, the most used of all venues (for free shows) in 2021. There are two free shows every day at Ocean Works with one at noon and another at 1:30 pm.
- Bonnie Northgraves Quartet – June 25th, 2021 (12:00 pm)
- Krystle Dos Santos – June 25th, 2021 (1:30 pm)
- Malleus Trio – June 26th, 2021 (12:00 pm)
- Amanda Sum – June 26th, 2021 (1:30 pm)
- Idle Moon – June 27th, 2021 (12:00 pm)
- Mary Ancheta Quartet – June 27th, 2021 (1:30 pm)
- Shannon Scott – June 28th, 2021 (12:00 pm)
- Lydia Hol – June 28th, 2021 (1:30 pm)
- Omianan – June 29th, 2021 (12:00 pm)
- Ribcage – June 29th, 2021 (1:30 pm)
- Peggy Lee & Cole Schmidt Trio feat. Dan Gaucher – June 30th, 2021 (12:00 pm)
- The Della Kit (fka Erica Dee) – June 30th, 2021 (1:30 pm)
- Thad Bailey-Mai Quartet – July 1st, 2021 (12:00 pm)
- Marin Patenaude – July 1st 2021 (1:30 pm)
- Kristin Fung – July 2nd, 2021 (12:00 pm)
- Parlour Panther – July 2nd, 2021 (1:30 pm)
- Anita Eccleston – July 3rd, 2021 (12:00 pm)
- Tom Wherett Group – July 3rd, 2021 (1:30 pm)
- Christopher Fraser Quartet – July 4th, 2021 (12:00 pm)
- DJ Kookum and Sierra Baker – July 4th, 2021 (1:30 pm)
Performance Works Stage Concerts
Bands play each day indoors at Performance Works. The venue’s address is 1218 Cartwright Street. It’s in the far southeast corner of Granville Island not far from Ron Basford Park.
2021 performers are listed below. There is one free show for every day of the festival and they all start at 2:30 pm.
- Human Kind [Iteration] – June 25th, 2021
- Turner/Ryga Quintet – Tribute to Charlie Parker – June 26th, 2021
- Jillian Lebeck Trio – June 27th, 2021
- Kuya Quintet – June 28th, 2021
- Emad Armoush’s Rayhan – June 29th, 2021
- Itamar Erez Quartet – June 30th, 2021
- Quatuor André Lachance – July 1st, 2021
- Dawn Pemberton – July 2nd, 2021
- San Pedro Cinco – July 3rd, 2021
- Jasmine Jazz feat. The Jodi Proznick Trio – July 4th, 2021
Canada Day Concerts on Granville Island in 2019
July 1st Concerts at Performance Works
There is usually a special concert lineup at Performance Works on July 1st. However, with the lessened overall schedule this year, there is only the one show on Canada Day (listed above).
To learn more about Granville Island on July 1st see our article about Granville Island on Canada Day.
Public Market Stage Concerts
Location: Outside the Public Market on the northwest corner of Granville Island.
Most years see free concerts take place outdoors at the edge of False Creek outside the Granville Island Public Market from 12:00 until 1:00 pm each day. However, there are likely no concerts on this stage in 2021 (although exact details are to be confirmed).
TIP: Take your lunch outside to munch on while enjoying the music. Watch out for the seagulls though as they love stealing food even more than they love the Jazz.
North Shore Jazz Concerts
Most years see Jazz concerts take place at the Public Library in West Vancouver, outdoors at the City of North Vancouver’s Civic Plaza, and sometimes at Lynn Valley Village in the District of North Vancouver.
West Vancouver Memorial Library
Location: Outdoors at 1950 Marine Drive, West Vancouver. There is one free show at this venue in 2021.
- Paul Pigat Trio and Big Lazy – June 25th, 2021 (7:30 pm)
North Vancouver Civic Plaza
Location: Outdoors at the North Vancouver Civic Plaza at 141 West 14th Street
A few concerts normally happen here, although not in 2021. Hopefully they’ll be back at this location in 2022.
BlueShore Financial Centre for the Performing Arts
Location: Another new stage for the 2021 festival, BlueShore is on the Capilano University campus at 2055 Purcell Way. There is one free show at this venue.
VIVO Media Arts Centre
The last of the new venues in 2021, VIVO Media Arts Centre is located at 2625 Kaslo Street. Its focus is on more experimental performances. There is one free Jazz Festival show on their stage this year.
- Rudiments for Hexadrome – June 29th, 2021 (5:00 pm)
Downtown Jazz Locations
Free concerts in downtown Vancouver most years include performances every evening at Guilt & Company in Gastown as well as all afternoon and early evening outside the Vancouver Art Gallery. In years without pandemics there is live music on both the Robson Street and Georgia Street sides of the Art Gallery on the first weekend of the festival.
Live Jazz at Gastown’s Guilt & Co.
Guilt & Company is one of Vancouver’s top music venues. Live band plays there pretty much every night of the year including during the Vancouver International Jazz Festival. In 2021 there are no “Jazz Festival” concerts at this venue. Guilt & Company is, however, open and offering live music of its own.
Location: Downstairs at #1 Alexander Street at the corner of Water Street and Carrall across the street from the Gassy Jack statue in Gastown.
Cost: By donation.
For information about the venue and live music at other times of the year see the Guilt & Co. website. It’s an exceptional place, admission is usually just by donation and the bands are great (but not always Jazz).
Robson Street Stage Concerts
Location: In the south plaza outside the Vancouver Art Gallery at the corner of Robson Street and Hornby.
Note: There are no performances at this venue in 2021 (or at least not to our knowledge).
Georgia Street Stage Concerts
Location: In the north plaza outside the Vancouver Art Gallery at the corner of Georgia Street and Hornby.
Note: Since 2018, the plaza’s official name is šx????n?q Xwtl’e7énk Square (where the Indigenous word is pronounced, very approximately, Hootlacken). šx????n?q Xwtl’e7én is used in the local Musqueam, Tsleil-Waututh and Squamish First Nations’ cultures for places where important cultural gatherings like weddings and funerals take place. Like with Robson Street, there are no shows here in 2021 (or at least not to our knowledge).
David Lam Park
Because of its sheer size and location, David Lam Park is an ideal setting for some of the larger named musicians to perform. Its address is 1300 Pacific Boulevard. With its wide open field, children’s playground nearby and stunning city views, this is definitely a locale you don’t want to miss.
Most years there are several concerts at David Lam Park over the Canada Day long weekend on the Saturday and Sunday. However, that is not the case in 2021.
The Roundhouse Community Centre is another venue where you’ll usually find free Jazz concerts on the last weekend of the Vancouver International Jazz Festival.
Location: At the community centre at 181 Roundhouse Mews in Yaletown.
Note: There are no performances at this venue in 2021.
Both free and ticketed concerts take place at other venues too. For the complete list of concerts and performance venues, especially for ticketed shows, see the Vancouver Jazz Festival website.
The list above, for convenience, is listed by venue. For a list of free concerts in chronological order, see Jazz Music Lineup.
For a list of other free concerts in the Lower Mainland, click Free Summer Concerts.
Other articles that might be of interest include the following:
- Festivals & Events Calendar
- Vancouver Summer Activities
- June Events Calendar
- July Events Calendar
- Vancouver Shows & Entertainment