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Nanaimo Big Band Festival 2022

Fri Sep 2nd - Sun Sep 4th

The 3-Day Nanaimo Big Band Festival kicks off on Friday September 2 in Maffeo Sutton Park, in Nanaimo Harbour on Vancouver Island. Come Dance the Weekend Away… listen to your favourite songs from the Big Band Era of great music. www.nanaimobigbandfest.com
All shows rain or shine

Friday Sep. 2   5pm-9pm
Headliner: Ken Lavigne “Let Me Be Frank”
plus Opening Acts

5:30 p.m. Opener: “King of Swing” featuring the Music of Count Basie with the Vancouver Island Repertory Jazz Orchestra (VIRJO).
Guest Singers: Ty Koch and Teighan Couch
There is no jazz trailblazer like the venerable William James “Count” Basie. The Count Basie Orchestra sound defined an era and dominated the jazz scene in the 1930’s, 40’s and even later in the 50’s and 60’s! The VIRJO will pay tribute to the monumental music of this jazz big band leader with an outstanding 17-piece band tackling the greatest hits of the Basie Orchestra! You will hear some of Basie’s most loved compositions and arrangements including One O’clock Jump, April in Paris, ShinyStockings, Lil’ Darlin, Corner Pocket and many more! There is no big band sound like the distinctive Count Basie sound – sophisticated yet playful music that the whole family can hum and dance along to! While it is truly hard to replicate the exact sound of Basie’s music, VIRJO creates an engaging and authentic representation that makes you feel like Basie is musically present.

7 p.m. Headliner: Ken Lavigne presents “Let Me Be Frank” with the Vancouver Island Repertory Jazz Orchestra.
Singer Ken Lavigne returns to the stage for his first in person show on Vancouver Island in over two years with Let me be Frank! celebrating the velvet tones of much-loved crooners from Frank Sinatra to Michael Bublé. Audiences can expect to hear your favourite songs – Fly Me to the Moon, All of Me, Sway, As Time Goes By, Save the Last Dance and more…performed with undeniable style with the Vancouver Island Repertory Jazz Orchestra.
For Ken, this music evokes a more romantic time in history, a time when dating and love were a little more mysterious, a little more special than simply a photo or status change on Facebook. “The crooners’ corner is all about simplicity, smooth vocals, and style,” he says. “For me it evokes a time when the anticipation of going out on the town came with a real sense of occasion, when air travel was glamorous, when being in love was worth singing about and the future was hopeful”.

Buy Tickets Fri. Sep. 2

Saturday Sep. 3   5pm-9pm
Headliner: Joelle Rabu in “Come to the Cabaret”
plus Opening Acts

5:30 p.m. Opener: Night and Day: Honouring the Great American Songbook with the Nico Rhodes Jazz Orchestra.
You may think “I’m Old Fashioned”, but we’d like to invite you “Somewhere over the Rainbow”, to lounge all through the “ Night (and Day)” with up-and-coming local vocal phenoms, Buwa and Joshua Holloway. It may be a bit of “A Sentimental Journey” but we think you will see nothing but “Blue Skies” once you hear the music. Backed by a handpicked collective of some of the finest musicians from across Vancouver Island – it promises to be a “De-lovely” evening.

7:00 p.m. Headliner: Joelle Rabu in “Come to the Cabaret” with the Nico Rhodes Jazz Orchestra
Take off with a soaring review of classic European and American cabaret songs, including the works of Edith Piaf, Irving Berlin, Gilbert Becaud, Joe Dassin, and Kander & Ebb. Blending classic sensibilities and modern flair; experience an evening of original arrangements of timeless hits like La Vie en Rose, What’ll I do?, Maybe this Time and more.

With an international career spanning three decades – two-time Jessie Award winner and Juno nominee, Joëlle Rabu has won international critical acclaim for her theatrical portrayal of the Parisian chanteuse, Edith Piaf, the iconic singer whose recordings were heard throughout Joëlle’s French upbringing. Joëlle has toured throughout five continents and won numerous accolades for her torch singing style and engaging stage presence. She has starred in many theatre productions and has made several guest appearances with major symphony orchestras across Canada and the USA. Well-known for her ability to delve into several musical styles, Joëlle’s interpretation of classic European cabaret-style tunes, jazz melodies, and heart wrenching torch songs has left audiences spellbound.

Buy Tickets Sat. Sep. 3

September 4: In the Mood to Swing! at Big Band Sunday
plus Opening Acts
Gather your friends, put on your dancing shoes and join us for cold drinks and hot moves as Maffeo Sutton Parks comes alive with the glory of swing with three bands taking to the stage.

11 a.m. Nico Rhodes Trio

12:30 p.m. Dock Side Drive is one of the West Coast’s newest swing & show bands. Fresh off theatre and festival tours, this dynamic band entertains audiences with the music of the 1930s through current day arranged in their own original swing style. Dock Side Drive is an 8 piece band offering a blend of tunes that will usher you through more than three decades of song, including the music of Ray Charles, Irving Berlin, George Gershwin, Cole Porter, Duke Ellington, The Beatles and other favourites. You won’t want to miss the chance to see and hear this ensemble performing well-known swing, blues, jazz and show tunes! It’s guaranteed you’ll be swingin’ and singin’ along!

2 p.m. Kick back on a late summer Sunday afternoon with a program of big band swing classics! Take in the sights and sounds of the Vancouver Island Repertory Jazz Orchestra presenting a blast from the past – music of the Golden Era of Swing. Joined by special guest, Vancouver based clarinet wizard James Danderfer, VIRJO performs the music of the great bands and their arrangers, such as Glenn Miller, Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw, Tommy Dorsey, and Duke Ellington. Listen to big band tunes from the 1920s to 40’s like In the Mood, Begin the Beguine, Take the A Train, Sing, Sing, Sing and many more – just as audiences did back then!

$2. from every Festival Ticket sold will go to the Marianne Turley Memorial Fund – supporting the Vancouver Island Symphony’s Grade 4 Music Education Program. Celebrating Marianne’s contribution to our community.

Buy Tickets Sun. Sep. 4
Buy 3-Day Festival Pass

VIP Ticket: Seating provided

  • VIP 3 Day Festival Pass: $149. Includes 2 albums by Ken Lavigne & Joelle Rabu and seating provided
  • VIP Single Day Ticket: $62 for Sept. 2 (incl. album) & Sept. 3 (incl. album) and seating provided  / Sept. 4 – $45  and seating provided

General SeatingBring your own Chair 

  • 3 Day Festival Pass: $79
  • Single Day Ticket: $34
  • Student Tickets: $20
  • Family Ticket: 2 Adults & 2 Children (17 and under): $70


 All shows rain or shine


Fri Sep 2nd
Sun Sep 4th
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Maffeo Sutton Park
100 Comox Road
Nanaimo, BC Canada
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