The Two-Weekend 2012 Beaches Jazz Festival Toronto
The Beaches International Jazz Festival 2012 edition runs across two extended weekends. The official site has more details than anyone would “shake a stick at”, but here are some highlights about the dates and venues. Please go to the official site to plan your visit; I’m just sharing the broad picture about one of the premier Toronto events every summer.
Free workshops comprise the hidden crown jewels of the Beaches Toronto Jazz Festival 2012; check below for the list.
The Big Picture for the Beaches Jazz Festival 2012 in Toronto
A long-running tradition in the eastern Beach community, the Beaches 2012 International Jazz Festival in Toronto hosts a large number of open-air performances at different venues.
These are free events, but BYOG for events in the parks. Bring your own gear, including folding chairs or a blanket upon which to sit; sunscreen; and a refillable water bottle so you won’t litter. Chairs and blankets won’t help you navigate Streetfest, but sunscreen and water are always useful.
- From July 20-22, head for Woodbine Park’s three stages.
- On July 26-28, Queen Street East hosts the Streetfest.
- From July 27-29, three additional venues pop up along the Boardwalk: Latin Square, Big Band Stage and World Stage.
- Finally, the Kew Gardens main stage hosts performances on July 28-29.
Beaches Jazz on July 20 to 22, 2012 at Woodbine Park
The opening weekend’s venue for the 2012 Toronto Beaches International Jazz Festival is at Woodbine Park, nestled among Lake Shore Blvd. East, Coxwell Ave., Eastern Ave. and Northern Dancer Blvd. It’s west of Woodbine Ave.; Lake Shore Blvd separates Woodbine Park from the sandy beaches and parkland, including the Martin Goodman Trail.
The very earliest start times, across all the stages, are 6pm on Friday, noon on Saturday and 1pm on Sunday. Performers will be on three different stages: the “Main Stage”; the “New Generation” stage; and the “Youth” stage.
Beaches Jazz on July 26-28, 2012 as Streetfest on Queen Street East
Almost a week after opening at Woodbine Park, the Toronto 2012 Beaches International Jazz Festival resumes by turning a mile of Queen Street East into a series of jazz venues. Some fifty bands will play anywhere from Queen at Woodbine, east to Beech Ave. That’s a distance of about 1.5Km, filled with jazz and pedestrians.
Does it bear mentioning that cars will be forbidden from 6pm until nearly midnight on July 26-28? Take the Woodbine bus south from the subway. Based on the above photograph, it could be pretty crowded even for cyclists.
Despite what I’d written about BYOG, above, it’s unlikely you would have room to set up chairs since the Streetfest is more about strolling, listening, and sometimes ducking into a pub or restaurant on Queen Street.
Beaches Jazz on July 27-29, 2012 on the Eastern Toronto Boardwalk
From July 27 through 29, three venues will host jazz performances along the Boardwalk.
Latin Square will be on the boardwalk near the Leuty Lifeguard Station. The shows start on Friday from 3-6pm; on Saturday from noon-6pm; and on Sunday from noon-4pm.
The Big Band Stage will be west of Lee Ave., with shows starting on Friday from 3-6pm; on Saturday from noon-5:30pm; and on Sunday from noon-3:15pm.
The World Beat Stage arrives east of the Boardwalk Cafe, the restaurant on Woodbine Beach south of Woodbine Park. These shows start on Friday from noon-8pm; on Saturday from noon-8pm; and on Sunday from noon-7:30pm.
Remember that Queen St. will be closed to cars from 6-11:30pm on July 27-28, 2012. I would expect a very slow drive along Lake Shore Blvd. east from the Gardiner Expressway, and very few open parking spots anywhere in the vicinity. Use the TTC to go south from the Bloor-Danforth subway, or bike on the Martin Goodman Trail.
Beaches Jazz on July 28-29, 2012 at the Kew Gardens Main Stage
The final venue for the 2012 Toronto Beaches International Jazz Festival is Kew Gardens. The performances start from 11am-5pm on both Saturday and Sunday.
Kew Gardens is the park between Queen Street and Lake Ontario. Both Bellefair Ave. and Wheeler Ave. end at Queen St.; Lee Ave. continues south as a boundary of Kew Gardens.
With Queen St. closed to cars on June 26-28 (6-11:30pm), it’s unlikely you should drive into the Beach neighbourhood for this event. Bicycle on the Martin Goodman Trail or take either the Woodbine or Main bus south from the subway, and plan on a bit of a walk.
Free Workshops are the Hidden Gems of the Beaches International Jazz Festival 2012
TD Bank sponsors a series of workshops during the Beaches International Jazz Festival. The topics are:
- Vocal Jazz, led by Heather Bambrick on July 23.
- Social Networking for Bands and Musicians, with Phat Al, also on July 23.
- Digital Concert Photography with Kris King on July 24
- Improv Comedy with Kevin Frank (of the Second City Training Centre), also on July 24
- Ukelele, led by Steve McNie on July 25
- Songwriting, facilitated by Amy Sky, also on July 25
- Zumba, Hip-Hop and Latin/Salsa dance workshops.
The venue for the dance workshops is the Alyona Dance Studio on 2215 Queen St. East, with the entrance on Wineva.
The other workshops will be held in the Mennonite New Life Centre in the Toronto United Mennonite Church on 1774 Queen St. East at Lark.
The official site has far more details about these free workshops and lectures.
Link to the Official Site of the Toronto Beaches International Jazz Festival
The Beaches International Jazz Festival of Toronto’s official site lists the schedule of performers at each venue.
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Disclaimer: DeHaan Services has no relationship to the organizer(s); I am not reimbursed for writing this article.