Annual Belize International Jazz Festival Kicks Off this Weekend
The annual Belize International Jazz Festival kicks off this weekend with an opening concert and jam session on Friday night at the Bliss. The music celebration runs through to August twenty-first and features a host of bands, including the Heartland Jazz Orchestra as well as Belize’s own Omolewa Osain. News Five caught up with Theatre Director Karen Vernon earlier this week and gave an idea of what jazz enthusiasts can expect from this year’s festival.
Karen Vernon, Theater Director
“The Jazz Festival gets underway this Friday, August twelfth and it runs through until the twentieth of August; it’s a ten day period and we have fourteen events scheduled during this period. As I said, the welcome show is this Friday—it is a welcome show and jam session here at the Bliss. You can get your tickets here at the Bliss for any of these events. And then we move on to the opening concert which is the official opening at the Cayo Welcome Center in San Ignacio on Sunday. That’s at four p.m. and it goes through until eleven. We have a huge lineup of bands performing at that event. We also events this weekend at the Biltmore and at the Radisson, you can check our calendar. We move on next week and we have two events here at the Bliss—a piano concert and there are jam sessions at Spoonaz Café. Monday and Wednesday, we have another jam session at sit and sip. And there are other events happening at the Radisson during this time as well. The big closing concert takes place on Saturday, august twentieth at the Memorial Park. And I have to mention that both the opening and closing concerts are free events.”
“With the regards to the event that is scheduled for the Bliss, are you guys satisfied and comfortable that the facility has been restored to a sense of normalcy where you can facilitate this many people?”
“Yeah definitely. We had some water damage which w have rectified. There are some areas upstairs where we have to replace windows, but that won’t affect the theatre. So of course the Bliss is ready and rehearsals have started. We will continue for the full week; we have artists starting to arrive tomorrow and they will be practicing here at the Bliss here as usual. So you guys can swing by and catch some of that as well. We have our first artist coming in; Luciano Rosado—he is a Belizean who resides in Chicago—and he will be bringing his band, the Heartland Jazz Orchestra which is actually a twenty-something member band, but only eight of them are coming. We have some single artists: Osmany Paredes from Cuba, Hitalo from Argentina. We have a band from Cuba, a band from the U.S.A. and a band from Mexico. And we have our own Junie Crawford coming in as well for the Jazz Festival. And then we have our local artists Supa G, Lord Rhaburn. This festival is dedicated to Lord Rhaburn and Lucio Alcoser and we have the Garifuna Collective, the band from Cayo, Almost 7, Ascenthium Rock Band, all the steel pan. So it is wide cross-section of bands participating in the festival this year.”
An itinerary of events has been scheduled for this weekend, including an opening ceremony at the Cayo Welcome Center on Sunday.