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Nanaimo International Jazz Festival wins provincial ‘Festival of the Year’ award

B.C. Touring Council presented the award during Pacific Contact conference April 15
Dirk Heydemann, the Nanaimo International Jazz Festival Association artistic director, accepts B.C. Touring Council’s inaugural Festival of the Year award from Julie Fowler, a founding member of BC Music Festival Collective, during Pacific Contact 2023 in New Westminster on Saturday, April 15. (Photo by Tom Landa)

The Nanaimo International Jazz Festival was honoured as B.C.’s ‘Festival of the Year’ last weekend.

The association won the inaugural award on Saturday, April 15, at New Westminster’s Anvil Centre during the B.C. Touring Council’s Pacific Contact 2023 conference, which annually showcases performing art professionals.

According to a release, the festival was nominated alongside other major festivals across the province. The award recognizes B.C. festivals that have “demonstrated excellence in programming, audience engagement and overall contribution to the cultural landscape of the community.”

The jazz festival has been a staple of Nanaimo’s cultural scene since 2017 and has brought together enthusiasts from all over the Island and beyond with international talent, workshops and free outdoor concerts, noted the release.

“We are absolutely thrilled to receive this recognition from the B.C. Touring Council,” said the association’s artistic director, Dirk Heydemann, in the release. “This award is a testament to the hard work and dedication of our team, our volunteers, and the community that supports us year after year.”

While accepting the award on Saturday, Heydemann said the small working group and board members have poured their hearts and souls into making the festival a success and take pride in featuring “amazing local talent that graces stages every September.”

“Vancouver Island has a rich jazz scene and we are proud to provide a platform for these talented artists to showcase their skills and creativity,” he said.

The art director told the News Bulletin the nomination had come as a surprise and that the association only found out a week before the award ceremony. He said the festival will “put the good word out” about the award as it provides prestige to the event.

For more information about the Nanaimo International Jazz Festival, visit

READ MORE: Jazz Festival in Nanaimo will include jams, parade, Disney classics and more

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Mandy Moraes

About the Author: Mandy Moraes

I joined Black Press Media in 2020 as a multimedia reporter for the Parksville Qualicum Beach News, and transferred to the News Bulletin in 2022
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