Eastern Ontario has a reputation for a lot of year round festivals – no more so than in the counties on your way to Kingston. Campbellford has the Water Festival in Spring , the Westben Musical Theater in the Summer and Winter’s Festival of Lights. Warkworth has the Spring Maple Syrup Fest, Summer’s Long Lunch and Falls Perfect Pie Contest. And down on Lake Ontario where the Ganaraska rive reaches the lake, Port Hope has the Spring Fest Fun of Get Your Fanny Down the Ganny, the year round Capital Live Theater shows and the Jazz Festival at the brink of Fall. Its all done in a big white tent plunk down in Port Hope’s Memorial Park right next to the City Hall, the Public Library, and the walkway that follow the river as the Ganaraska spills under the massive railroad trestles and into Port Hope harbor. I know the festival for the past two or three years because I find myself working in the library on the Festival weekend. In fact I have taken to working upstairs at the West end of the library, so I get the best of all possible worlds. The wafting rhythms from the Jazz Fest, the bright sunshine lit room, and the chance to sneak a few bites from the Dark Chocolate goodies that go on sale at the Library during the Jazz Fest.
Now let me assure readers that the Port Hope Jazz Festival manages to corral some great sounds to wend their way over to the library just across the street from the Festival’s main tent. This year, the Saturday sojourn included CaneFire, the Darren Johnston Quintet, the Laila Biali Trio, plus Alex Cuba. As well TD CanadaTrust features a Young Jazz Showcase which draws from some of the acts that appeared in Toronto Showcase earlier in the Summer. It certainly makes the need to “work on Saturday” a lot more entertaining and bearable. Jazz at the Library.
This year I managed to get off early and stroll along the Ganaraska river walkway. The salmon are traveling upstream for spawning and fishermen are out to land a few. But what really surprised us was that the Jazz also wended its way along the riverbank, particularly the dulcet sounds of AlexCuba. It certainly helped that a thoroughly soggy summer gave way to a bright but crisp sunshine full days for the Jazz Festival. My only regret, I missed the night time show with a waning full moon to carry the Emilie-Claire Barlow syncopated tunes.