Toronto Jazz Festival

Toronto Jazz Festival 2014
/ Jun
Live Festival Updates:

Toronto Jazz Festival 2014

Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Downtown Toronto (various locations)
43.676811, -79.384675 (View Map)
10 Days (Mon, 19 Jun 2017 - Wed, 28 Jun 2017)
Ticket Price
FREE - $65.50
Festival Planned

The 2014 Toronto Jazz Festival will see an estimated 500,000+ attend to enjoy 350+ performances by 1,500+ musicians spread out in approximately 40 venues around the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). Keep you’re diary free for the last two weeks of June as this year is going to be dynamite!

The Toronto Jazz Festival is a large 10 day jazz festival held in the heart of Downtown Toronto, Ontario, Canada in mid-late June each year. The past years have seen annual attendances of over 500,000 people making it Toronto’s 2nd largest music event (2nd only to North by North East aka: NXNE).

The festival has established itself as one of the premier jazz festivals in North America. With previous performers like: Miles Davis, Sarah Vaughan, Dizzy Gillespie, Cab Calloway, Sonny Rollins, Ray Charles, Sun Ra, Tony Bennett, Rosemary Clooney, Dr. John, Dave Brubeck, Stan Getz & Oscar Peterson you can see why it’s so popular!

Each year the festival’s music genres diverse ever so slightly and what once was an 8-day festival dedicated solely to jazz music has now transformed into a 10 day festival where you can experience many different genres; look out for blues, funk, hip-hop & latin as they’re around! For the jazz purists out there, you will not be disappointed, you’ll find that 80+% of music is still jazz orientated!

Some interesting facts: To date the festival has hosted over 25,000 artists; contributed over $420 million pounds to the local economy, entertained 8.5 million people and has presented almost 2,000 free public concerts.


Best of Toronto Jazz Festival (Mixed Years)

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Formerly known as the DuMaurier Jazz Festival until the ban on tobacco advertising by the federal government forced the need for a new sponsor. Today, the festival is now sponsored by TD Bank and has since dropped the word “Downtown” from its title.

Originally started in 1987, the Festival was co-founded by Executive Producer Patrick Taylor and Former Artistic Director Jim Galloway; currently, the Artistic Director is Josh Grossman. Roy Thomson Hall, the CN Tower and Metro Convention Centre were the three venues for that inaugural season. Miles Davis, Roberta Flack and Tony Bennett were the head-liners that year. – Source: Wikipedia

A more extensive history at the National Post: Looking back on Toronto Jazz Festival’s 25 years, plus must-see shows at this year’s fest.

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Koerner Hall Fisheye Photo

Koerner Hall Fisheye Photo

The inside venues for this year’s Toronto Jazz Festival will be in the Koerner Hall TELUS Centre and the Phoenix Concert Theatre. Whilst most of the outdoor stages are hosted in and around Nathan Phillips Square in Downtown Toronto.

Each year there are roughly 40 locations which take part in the Jazz fest spread out across the city.

Koerner Hall TELUS Centre

Koerner Hall Seating Plan

Koerner Hall Seating Plan

Koerner Hall is a 1,135 seat venued designed in the tradition of the classic “shoebox” venues of Europe, built without compromise and with a mission to provide acoustic perfection for music of all genres.Classical, jazz, pop, opera, and world music are right at home in Koerner Hall. Its high ceiling and first-rate projection and communication technology make it perfect for films, lectures, and educational or corporate conferences. With its layered ribbon of wood forming a floating ceiling canopy, integrating an acoustic reflector, performance lighting, and technical bridges, Koerner Hall provides a dramatic yet intimate ambience between the audience and performers. The spectacular glass lobbies welcome guests to Koerner Hall and offer an extraordinary view of the city. – Source:

Venue Address

TELUS Centre for Performance & Learning
273 Bloor Street West
Toronto, ON M5S 1W2

Phoenix Concert Theatre

Phoenix Concert Theatre

Phoenix Concert Theatre

The Phoenix Concert Theatre is an eighteen thousand square foot entertainment complex featuring three distinct environments. The Main Room features one of the city’s largest dance floors, leading edge sound and lighting system, five bars including a fifty foot bar made of marble, a twenty by thirty foot stage, full concert facilities and a 10ft. retractable projection screen.

Le Loft, a mezzanine space overlooking the Main Room, features an overhanging balcony which stretches the entire width of the club, lounge seating, separate bar, custom artwork and features unobstructed sightlines to the stage.

The Parlour, a self contained space off the Main Room, features a separate sound system, dance floor and lighting system. – Source: Phoenix Concert Theatre

Venue Address

410 Sherbourne Street
Toronto, ON M4X 1K2

Lineup & Tickets

The lineup for the 2014 Toronto Jazz Festival is shown below.

Check back regularly for details. Follow us on Facebook, bookmark this page or ⇩ subscribe to lineup notifications ⇩:

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what do you think of this years lineup?

Last year’s schedule here.

Please help secure the future of this event by sharing on your social media channels. It only takes 2 seconds and with your support we can increase exposure of the event, boost ticket sales, attract more festival-goers and organize better festivals for the future. We need your support, if you can, please help. Thank you.

Flights & Transportation

The nearest international airport to the Toronto Jazz Festival is the Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ) and is located approximately 30km from downtown Toronto.

Currently 37 airlines fly into Toronto Pearson International Airport (list of airlines here). To get the best flight deals I would use SkyScanner‘s official search widget below.

To get to the city from the airport you have a number of options available to you:


A taxi will cost you around $55 if fare is agreed in advanced and will take anywhere from 30-60 minutes to get to Downtown depending on traffic on the roads.

You can hail a taxi and the fare will be metered and can be anywhere from $55-$70 plus tip.

Taxi Pick-Up Locations:

Terminal-1 DomesticTaxis – Area A1
Limousines – Area B1
Terminal-1 InternationalTaxis – D1
Limousines – D3
Terminal-3 DomesticTaxis – Post 11
Limousines – Post 19
Terminal – 3 InternationalTaxis – Post 31
Limousines – Post 35
Show Bus (Downtown Express) and Car Rental Info...

Downtown Express Service (Bus)

Airport Express Route Map

Airport Express Route Map

Airport Express Schedule

Airport Express Schedule

The Downtown Express (otherwise known as the Toronto Airport Express) is a quick and convenient way to travel from the airport to Downtown Toronto. The Downtown Express operates 7 days a week, 18 hours a day and leaves every 40 minutes from the airport and the following locations:

  • Bond Place Hotel
  • Westin Harbour Castle (pick-up spot on Yonge Street around the corner of Hotel)
  • Fairmont Royal York (Union Station, The Strathcona Hotel)
  • Intercontinental Hotel
  • Sheraton Centre
  • Eaton Chelsea
  • Bus Terminal (Elizabeth St & Edward St.)
  • Metropolitan Hotel, U of T Residence
  • Hyatt Regency

Starting December 1, 2013, Toronto Airport Express main route service operates between 6:25am – 12:05am from the airport to downtown, every 40 minutes. From downtown to the airport between 5:25am – 8:45pm , every 40 minutes

The coach has WiFi, on-board toilets, leather seats and charging facilities for laptops and mobile phones.

Prices for the Downtown Express (see image on the right for route map and latest prices):

Adult Single: $27.95
Adult Double (two people): $42.00

Car Rental

A number of reputable car rental companies operate from the airport (car rental counters on Level 1 of the parking garages adjacent to both terminals):

Tel: 1-800-TRY-AVIS (1-800-879-2847)
Terminal 1 – (905) 676-1032/33
Terminal 3 – (905) 676-1034/35

Tel: 1-800-268-8900
Terminal 1 – (905) 676-1500
Terminal 3 – (905) 676-0522

Tel (Dollar): 1-800-800-4000
Tel (Thrifty): 1-800-THRIFTY (1-800-847-4389)
Terminal 1 – (905) 676-9127
Terminal 3 – (905) 671-7830

Enterprise Rent-A-Car
Tel: 1-800-RENT-ACAR

Tel: 1-800-263-0600
Terminal 1 and 3 – (416) 674-2020


The cheapest accommodation options I could find in and around Toronto during the festival period (Late June) are shown below (Click HERE for a complete list):

*** Hotel prices rise exponentially as you get closer to the festival dates. Book early to avoid disappointment. ***

Hotels Combined

If you are on a super shoe-string budget then search HostelWorld and get a bed in Toronto for as little as $23.72! – (Private rooms $24.78+)

I would recommend checking Toronto hotel reviews on TripAdvisor prior to placing any booking. Alternatively, why don’t you try something different and rent someones apartment during the festival period at AirBnB?! Click here for a free £15 credit towards your first booking!

Note that there is NO TENT CAMPING at the Toronto Jazz Fest. If you are looking for some place to camp during the festival dates, the nearest camp ground is the Bronte Creek Provincial Park. For a more in-depth look into the available locations head over to The Top 5 Camping Sites in Toronto by Suburban Tourist.

Exclusive Interview

Josh Grossman

Josh Grossman

Recently Festival Archive was lucky enough to sit down with the Artistic Director of the Toronto Jazz Festival, Josh Grossman, and ask him a few questions about this years fest. This is what he had to say… Enjoy!

Q. The Toronto Jazz Festival is now in its 27th year which is a brilliant achievement and one you must be proud of. Can you tell us how long you have been working with the festival and give a little history as to how you made your way into your current position?

I joined Toronto Downtown Jazz in January, 2010, so the 2014 Festival will be my fifth. I’m a graduate of the University of Toronto’s Jazz Performance program and while performance has always been a passion, I’ve always also been interested in arts administration. Since graduating from U of T the various volunteer and job experience I gained – performing, leading bands, producing and presenting shows, with organizations ranging in size from volunteer-run jazz festivals to The Royal Conservatory – prepared me for my job with TDJ.

Q. Many people would think that planning a festival would be an ideal job but I can imagine that it must be fraught with stresses and complications. During your role within the festival what do you find to be the most challenging aspects of your job?

The most challenging aspect of the job each year is balancing the Festival’s artistic interests with its financial needs. We need to ensure the long-term viability of the festival, so we must make choices which make sense financially; but we also need to ensure the long-term artistic relevance of the festival – fostering new artists, developing new audiences, etc. Sometimes those two goals work in tandem – when great artists, whether young lions or seasoned veterans, also produce great box office returns – but sometimes those goals are more difficult to reconcile.

Show Rest of Interview...

Q. The lineup for this year is very impressive and has a host of many exciting and dynamic performers; which performer are you looking forward to seeing most and do you have any tips for festival go-ers out there seeking some fresh new acts?

My advice to festival guests is the same each year: go on a jazz adventure! Find names which are familiar, but be sure to explore a new venue, or check out a new name. Some of my most memorable festival experiences as an audience member came from unexpected bands in unexpected places.

Q. It’s always been a great mystery to me as to how the festival handles act selection. Are there specific criteria that artists have to meet? Are acts selected purely on talent and performance alone or do your gut instincts and emotions come into play when making decisions? Also, who has the final say as to who performs (if there is just one artistic visionary?!)?

Fist and foremost, any act being considered for a spot at the Festival has to meet some fairly strict performance standards. We are looking to book the best jazz artists in the world, so all artists, whether local or from abroad, have to be prepared to be held up to that standard.

When it comes to actual bookings, there are several methods at play. If an artist has performed before at the Festival, future bookings will be based on that artist’s history: the quality of the performance, audience reaction, and box office returns. If an artist has never performed at the Festival, whether an unsolicited submission or an agent recommendation, we’re sure to do our homework: where else has the artist played? How did those shows turn out? What kind of buzz is the artist creating in the community and in the media? What kind of following has the artist garnered online? And, of course, budgetary concerns also come into play.

It’s my job as Artistic Director to always to on the lookout for new and interesting acts, while maintaining contact with those artists who are always welcome to return. Programming decisions – deciding who plays when and where – are made by committee.

Q. Over the years the festival has grown from strength to strength and has now established itself as one of the great events in the international jazz festival circuit; what do you think has been the key to the festivals continued success and what are some of the major difficulties your team are faced with each year?

We do our best to ensure that the festival has “something for everyone”: free and ticketed shows in a wide variety of genres presented on a wide variety of stages. We also are sure to pay attention to trends in the jazz community in particular and the wider music community – by reflecting the interests of our current and potential audience members, we build loyalty and engagement with the audience.

The biggest challenge we face is Toronto’s saturated entertainment market. On any day throughout the year someone can choose from an enormous variety of entertainment options; during the summer the competition for entertainment dollars gets particularly stiff. We have to figure out each year how best to position the festival as an exciting option – our marketing and programming approaches help this cause.

Q. Can you tell us a little about your favorite moments of the past 2013 Toronto Jazz Festival?

Here are few things which stick out from last year’s festival:
Looking back from my seat in the tent to see an overflowing Nathan Philips Square for the Smokey Robinson concert
Experiencing legendary bluesman James Cotton one night at the Horseshoe, and “going to church” with the crowd at the Dr. Lonnie Smith show the next night.

Being in the audience for Gregory Porter’s first ever – and stellar – Toronto performance
The fantastic combination of great music and great comedy provided by Steve Martin, Edie Brickell and the Steep Canyon Rangers
And, on a particularly personal note, performing as part of the Lunchtime Series with my big band, and giving the world premiere of a suite I wrote and which is dedicated to one of my musical and personal mentors, Phil Nimmons.

Q. Are there any programmes/clinics, educational or otherwise, that run alongside the Toronto Jazz Festival? If people wished to participate in any of them what is the best way for them to find out some more information?

Absolutely. We’re committed to fostering the next generation of jazz musicians and jazz lovers along with that generation’s teachers; we also seek to engage our current audience members. We do so with a variety of programming: clinics and workshops for students and teachers; special performance opportunities for younger musicians; interviews and autograph sessions with performing musicians; and more. We want to make sure a jazz festival experience is so much more than just seeing concerts.

Q. The festival has now been around for a long time and some would say that the past couple of years has been the festivals’ best years, how do you strive to make each year better than the last and where do you see the festival in 10 years?

We do our best to pay attention to the feedback we receive each year from performers and audience members alike, and are constantly tweaking the Festival – from the lineup to the customer experience – to ensure it can be the best possible festival. In these past few years I think we’ve done a good job in particular of responding to trends in the jazz world, booking artists that are generating a lot of buzz within less traditional audience segments.

I’d like to see the Festival continue to program vital and relevant artists, reaching out to new and younger audiences. I’d like to see the Festival explore new models for festival presentation, ensuring we are always reflecting the needs and interests of our audience. Finally, I look forward to the day we can make more shows more accessible – through grants and sponsorship – with lower ticket prices to ensure that more people can see more shows.

Q. Organising a festival of this calibre takes incredible skill, team-work, coordination and dedication. Outside of your direct festival planning team (who seem to do an outstanding job by the way!) is there any person or groups of people you would like to especially thank for their help in making the festival a success?

The Festival certainly would not be possible without the 200 volunteers we bring onboard each year, and their outstanding volunteer coordinators. The musicians who perform on our stages deserve applause too – they put their everything into their shows, regardless of stage, audience size or even weather. And, of course, we would be nothing without our audience. All art requires engagement of some sort, and jazz festival audiences are some of the most engaged I’ve seen: they sing, clap, snap tap and dance along, elevating every performance from just a concert to an experience.

Q. Many people say that it’s the festivals diverse range of jazz styles and the introduction of other similar music genres that has led to the success of the festival. How do you manage to walk the fine line between keeping both the jazz purists happy with the programme lineup and audiences with lets say a more ‘general’ taste in music?

It’s not always easy! I will always remember one of the biggest compliments I received from a particularly ardent jazz connoisseur. He said “I actually found one thing to see each day.” Mission accomplished! A diverse program is always top-of-mind, and we are constantly cross-checking the genres being presented across venues and throughout each day to ensure that no one day has too much (for example) vocal jazz or traditional jazz. We really do aim to have shows for every kind of jazz lover every day during the Festival.

Q. What is the biggest marketing challenge you face when trying to spread the word about the festival? Are there any particular avenues or strategies you have focussed on that have led to noticably good results?

As I mentioned earlier, differentiating the Festival from all of the other summer activity in Toronto – from cultural events to sports to the great outdoors – is an ongoing challenge. We have great support from media and corporate sponsors, who help to spread the word through advertising (print, radio and online) and brochure distribution, but we’re always looking for new ways to connect with our current and potential audiences. In the past two years we’ve especially ramped up our online interactions – through Facebook, Twitter and other social media outlets – and we’ve seen some success: likes and follows have increased, response to contesting and other gamification has been strong, and we’re starting to see coverage of the festival pop up in new and exciting places. Next up: a jazz festival app!

Q. For people wishing to help out at the festival this year round can you please tell them a little about any volunteer opportunities you offer or other ways they can help?

Volunteer opportunities are always posted in the spring – I encourage anyone interested in being a festival volunteer to check in regularly at Volunteers play a variety of important roles – customer service to information to artist stewardship and more.

We would like to make a special thanks to Josh for taking the time out of his busy schedule to answer these questions. We wish you all the best with this upcoming festival!

Outside of the Festival

Niagra Falls

Niagra Falls

If you’re coming to Toronto for the festival then why not take a few extra days to explore the highlights of Toronto. Niagra falls is only a 90-minute drive away so you could take a trip to see 750,000 gallons of water a second pour over the edge, it’s a lovely place to go at any point of the year.

CN Tower Edge Walk

CN Tower Edge Walk

The CN Tower is a brilliant way to see the city from above and they even offer an ‘edge walk’ (the worlds highest hands free walk) allowing you to get outside and hang over the edge to test your nerve. Whilst you’re up there you could also grab a bite to eat at the 360 restaurant which gives 360 degree views of the city.

If you require any further information on this festival or would like to leave a message for others then please use the comments section below.

NB. You also find photo gallerieslive festival newstransport information in the tabbed section below. All festival listings are changing continuously, check back regularly.

Additional Resources

Post last updated by Paul Thomson on May 19, 2014
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