Founded by a group of jazz enthusiasts in 2001, the Sutton Jazz Festival has welcomed, for 22 years, great names in jazz: Ranee Lee, Karen Young, Dawn Tyler Watson, Sonia Johnson, Jean-Michel Pilc, Jean Vanasse, Sylvain Provost, Alex Bellegarde, Michel Donato as well as supporting our outstanding local jazz musicians.
Since its inception, the event has attracted many loyal visitors and even more so since the year 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic forced the implementation of a new formula : we began to present many of our events outside and offered them free to the public. Since the concerts became free, our visitor participation almost tripled and our visitors are now able to enjoy great jazz in the open air in the beautiful village of Sutton.
The Festival has built a solid reputation and has become a flagship event in the Eastern Townships. Different initiatives of the organization have grown over time and have given new colors to the Festival i.e. free jazz workshops and educational programs specifically for our youth. Also, in 2022, the Emerging Talent Contest allowed young jazz music students from our Universities and Colleges to participate in a competition. The winning band is then able to present a performance as part of the following year's seasonal programming. This is a great opportunity to encourage many young jazz talents and to attract younger people to our concerts. Throughout this long organizational journey, the Festival remains a great jazz music festival, which can boast of having achieved a tour de force in presenting large-scale jazz outside of major venues for over 22 years now.
But all this success is due first and foremost to the visitors who come and return year after year to applaud the musicians and offer generous donations contributing to an even more diversified and high caliber program.
Very sincerely, THANK YOU to all of you.
Daniel Dufresne, President of Sutton Jazz
The Sutton Jazz Festival (SJF) is a non-profit organization whose mission is to promote jazz in Québec and more particulary in the Sutton region.
Since 2001, SJF has worked to bring jazz to life in the community and thereby contribute to the development of the next québécois jazz generation.
The Sutton Jazz Festival was born in 2001 thanks to the efforts of Stanley Lake and Vicki Tansey. Stanley Lake went on to become the festival's artistic director and main organizer. For the first three years, the festival presented four or five concerts in winter. The basic idea was to give excellent local musicians the chance to perform, and to develop a jazz audience in Sutton. Given the interest shown by the public, the experiment was repeated in subsequent years.
Then, in 2005, the Salle Alec et Gérard Pelletier opened its doors, and from autumn onwards, the festival presented its concerts there on Fridays and Saturdays. This partnership lasted until 2020, when the pandemic forced the closure of the concert halls.
In 2008, the festival officially became a non-profit organization dedicated to the development of jazz in the region. This made it possible to apply for grants and sponsorships from Heritage Canada, the Brome-Missisquoi MRC, the Town of Sutton and other local companies. Thanks to these new sources of funding, the festival will increasingly invite leading figures from the Montreal jazz scene.
Gradually, concerts will be presented in the street, notably with the Homebrew Dixieland Band. In its tenth year, restaurant concerts will be added.
In 2020, due to the pandemic, the festival moves outdoors. And following the government directive to authorize outdoor gatherings of 250 people or less, the festival pulls out all the stops to organize, on three weeks' notice, a nineteenth season in John-Sleeth Park. This new formula was an unhoped-for success from the very first concert, attracting over 1,500 music lovers over the course of the season.
During the festivities surrounding its 20th anniversary in 2021, a new feature is introduced: jazz workshops for young people. With the same sanitary conditions, the festival's program of 20 free open-air concerts attracts many music lovers every Saturday.
To date, over 150 concerts have featured jazz musicians from Quebec and more specifically from the Sutton region, including : Roberto Murray, Dave Turner, Rémi Bolduc, Alex Côté, Jean Derome, Mathieu Bélanger on saxophone. On trumpet: Kevin Dean, Marc Bolduc, Ron Di Lauro, Aron Doyle, Jacques Kuba Séguin. On marimba and vibraphone: Jean Vanasse and Kevin Sullivan. Singers: Vivienne Deane, Ranee Lee, Karen Young, Dawn Tyler Watson and Almut Ellinghaus. Bassists: Frédéric Alarie, Normand Guilbeault, Michel Donato and Alex Bellegarde. Several pianists including : Taurey Butler, Lorraine Desmarais, Marianne Trudel, Felix Stüssi, François Bourassa, Michel Pilc and Yves Léveillé. On guitar: Sylvain Provost, Claude Prud'homme, Nelson Symonds. And finally, several ensembles, including : Jazz Lab, Trio LML, Christine Tassan's Imposte
Board of directors
- Stanley Lake, artistic director and founder
- Daniel Dufresne, President
- VACANT, administrator and treasurer
- Manon Champagne, administrator and communications
- Marie Neige Chatelain, administrator
- Marc Raboy, administrator
- Lucie Rodrigue, administrator and project manager
- Michel Dufresne, administrator and secretary
- Yassine Khasbi, administrator