The smooth sounds of jazz in Fort Langley on Saturday competed with the sounds of endless cheers, claps, hollers, and laughter that erupted around the village.
The second annual Fort Langley Jazz and Arts Festival attracted hundreds of listeners looking to poke around the village for art and a good tune.
Founder and organizer Dave Quinn, who led the festival’s opening Mardi Gras-style parade earlier in the morning, summed up the first day-and-a-half as “very successful.”
“I believe we had over 700 people for the blues show last night. Aerial photography will paint a picture of just how many people attended today and how it compared to last year,” Quinn explained.
The festival doubled in size and length since it’s inaugural year in 2018 - only lasting one singular day as opposed to three for this go-round.
Quinn said they made sure music was not hard to find by any means – five separate outdoor stages and performing spaces welcomed musicians from all across B.C.
Two stages in front of the Fort Langley Community Hall, the City Stage and Odlum Brown Stage, was where the bulk of crowds flocked to – many sprawled out on the lawn to bask in an endless line-up of performances and much welcomed sunshine.
Walk a little further down Glover Rd and people could find more performers outside the Centennial Museum, CN Train Station, and the National Historic Site.
Pop-up performances for people who just couldn’t get enough (and players who just couldn’t quit) sprung up on the sidewalks, giving all listeners ample choices to hear.
Amelia Cline, a volunteer working the information booth, said despite not being a jazz fan, it was an atmosphere she just had to be a part of.
“I’m a Fort Langley resident and I enjoyed just wandering around the festival last year. People have come from all over the Lower Mainland for this one – I just talked to someone who was from North Delta. I’m here to support the community and have some fun.”
Restaurant patios were completely filled, giving busy managers no time to speak to the Langley Advance Times. A thumbs up from staff at the Beatnik Bistro seemed to sum up the general feeling from local business owners.
Bopping heads listening to live-performances in a number of different restaurants and cafes along Mavis Avenue seemed to also satisfy a hunger - supplying yet another choice for musical tastes.
It was also a day to showcase Fort Langley’s history as Community Hall president Soo-Jean Ye laid out a table detailing the building’s history with pictures and newspaper clippings of festivals from decades past.
“We are sponsoring jazz fest. It’s in our mandate to support the arts and music in the community so this really fits for us,” Soo-Jean Ye. “There is such a sense of community with music that brings people together.”
Up inside the second floor of 78-year-old building was another aspect that made the festival a diverse experience – art. The Langley Art’s Council (LAC) put out an open call to painters, looking for themed work inspired by the phrase “All that Jazz.”
Aldergrove resident Rudy Zator was one of the artist’s whose work was on display. Though he is new to painting – only taking up the craft this past January – he said events like the festival help give a life to an arts community in Langley.
“We need to promote the arts more because we don’t have enough. It’s seriously needed. This [Fort Langley Jazz and Arts Festival] is a start, but we need to band together and push. Surrey has had an arts and culture centre for years, why can’t we have one in Langley?”
People could enjoy the LAC showcase, take a guided walk to see Fort Langley art up-close, or even watch one of the many painters busy stroking brushes on the sidewalks.
For youngsters just looking to find a creative outlet, a kids zone allowed them to craft their own guitar from a tissue box and paper towel tube.
“We’re not going bigger, we are going better,” Quinn assured. “We brought in some great international artists but we have some surprises already in the works for next year.
Another day of live music and art continues on Sunday, starting off with a pancake breakfast put on the the Fort Langley Lions Club.
A full line-up of performers can be found at www.fortlangleyjazzfest.com.
“It is ‘Jazz Town’,” Quinn proudly said, refering to a name he recently told the Langley Advance Times he wanted Fort Langley to be known by.
Is there more to this story?