Nico Rhodes, Lucas Smart, James McRae and Kosma Busheikin (from left) recorded their set for the Nanaimo International Jazz Festival’s online video series at the Harbour City Theatre in December. (Photo courtesy François Savard)

Music starts next week at online Nanaimo International Jazz Festival

Ten free, virtual performances to occur over three weeks in March

The Nanaimo International Jazz Festival Association has revealed the schedule for the upcoming online edition of this year’s festival.

The organization announced in December that, due to COVID-19, it would be presenting an online concert series this spring instead of its regular in-person festival. The series, which was filmed at the Harbour City Theatre, is made possible thanks to a $76,600 grant from the Department of Canadian Heritage.

“With the assistance of the City of Nanaimo and Heritage Canada we’ve been able to keep up the momentum of this important music festival,” said NIJF founder Andrew Homzy in a press release. “Jazz fans from Nanaimo and further afield will still get to experience some fine homegrown talent and just as importantly, performers will have an opportunity to share their artistry and reach a broader audience. That’s what the festival is all about.”

The 10 virtual performances will be available for viewing on the NIJFA’s social media pages from March 1 to 20, uploaded each Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Although they are free to watch, viewers are encouraged to support the event through donations or becoming a member.

All performers reside from Comox to the Cowichan Valley. They are: the Anderson Jazz Trio, Marty Steele Band, Lucas Smart Quartet, the Brock Meades Trio, Gerry Barnum and Friends, the Narissa Young Trio, the Keanu Ienco Trio, Nico Rhodes, Diana Braithwaite and the Chris Whiteley Quartet.

The series concludes with a tribute to pianist, singer and songwriter Shelton Brooks, whom Homzy calls “Canada’s first jazz composer,” featuring all performers on March 20.

For more information, visit

WHAT’S ON … Nanaimo International Jazz Festival takes place from March 1 to 20. on the NIJF’s Facebook and Instagram pages.

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Nanaimo News Bulletin