Saturday, June 23, 2007

Vancouver Day Two

I've written before that Vancouver's festival is somewhat unique in that it is a number of festivals within a festival; you could spend an unmatched 10 days just hanging out at the Vancouver East Cultural Centre, the Commodore Ballroom, the Orpheum, or any combination of about a dozen key venues. Size is also an important factor in how good this festival is. As excellent as the Montreal festival can be, I have never been drawn to joining 10,000 people trying to hear a free show on Ste. Catherine Street, and pushing through the mob -- which can range up to 100,000 depending on what's going on can really be crazy (gee, can't wait 'til I'm there again next week). Here, the scale makes more sense. This is the first time that I've been at the Vancouver festival during opening weekend, when free shows are held in the main tourist area of Gastown. I was pleasantly surprised to find small stages, especially a really nice one erected at the bottom of a natural, grass-covered amphitheatre (shades of the old Ottawa jazz fest in the days when I was involved with it). It that respect, it reminds me of the San Jose jazz festival, one of my favourites and a sadly under-rated one.

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