Mark your calendars! The third annual Kensington Market Jazz Festival will be the best one yet. Deemed by Brad Wheeler of the Globe and Mail as “wildly successful,” the new kid on the Toronto jazz festival block is the brainchild of founding director, acclaimed musician, philanthropist and Officer of the Order of Canada, Molly Johnson. Born in Kensington Market, she dreamt of creating this festival for years as inspired by playing European festivals. Since the spring of 2016, with the help of musicians Ori Dagan and Genevieve Marentette, and social media maven Celine Peterson, Johnson has been spearheading an annual celebration of Toronto culture and talent.
“What makes the weekend so magical is the coming together of the Kensington Market neighbourhood and Toronto’s music community. Musicians, audiences, volunteers and participating businesses are what make this festival what it is,” says Johnson. “CASH ONLY at the door means an ENGAGED AUDIENCE. Our goal is to have sold out shows at every venue and we work very hard using social media and hard-working volunteers to stuff those venues with people who love live music as well as Kensington Market.”
There are two brand new venues this year which the KMJF is particularly excited about engaging with: The Kiever Synagogue (25 Bellevue Ave), St. Stephen-In-the-Fields Church (102 Bellevue Ave), with more to be announced this summer. Returning participating venues include:Handlebar (159 Augusta Ave), Hotbox Cafe (204 Augusta Ave), Poetry Jazz Cafe (224 Augusta Ave), Supermarket (268 Augusta Ave),Pamenar Cafe (307 Augusta Ave), Lola’s (20 Kensington Ave) to name a few. For the third year, Tom’s Place (191 Baldwin Street) will host the Piano Room featuring a Yamaha Grand and a dozen of Canada’s best pianists throughout the weekend. Tom’s will also host the opening party from 5-7pm on Friday September 14, with special musical guest Bob Rae on the piano.