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Friday, July 19, 2024

The Halifax Jazz Festival returns for its 38th edition in 2024

Artistic director Andrew Jackson crosses off his bucket list and offers tips for festival newcomers (and Jazz Fest stalwarts).

The Halifax Jazz Festival returns to venues across the city for its 38th year. From headliners Emmylou Harris and Fitz and The Tantrums to homegrown Canadian talents such as Matt Andersen & The Big Bottle of Joy and Charlotte Day Wilson, the festival’s artistic director, Andrew Jackson, is excited by the diversity of talent this year.

Jazz encompasses a vast array of music. A good entry point for people is to start with some of the more classic sounds and expand your palette from there. – Andrew Jackson

“Every night and every day offers something different, with various languages, styles, and artists from all over the world,” he says.

Also included in this year’s lineup are two of Jackson’s bucket-list acts. “We’ve finally secured Emmett Cohen, an incredible pianist and a personal jazz hero of mine,” he says. “Killer Mike, a phenomenal artist we’ve been trying to get for years, is joining us this year. I’m incredibly excited about both of them.”

In addition to the wide range of music over its six days, the festival will feature a few new additions to improve the audience experience. “We’re expanding the festival site to include a vendor village and offering more seating options,” says Jackson. “For instance, the Emmylou Harris show will have stage-front seating available.”

While attending a jazz festival can be daunting for those unfamiliar with the genre, Jackson aims to alleviate these concerns. “Jazz encompasses a vast array of music,” he says. “A good entry point for people is to start with some of the more classic sounds and expand your palette from there.”

For first-time attendees (and Jazz Fest stalwarts), Jackson offers these tips as well:

  1. Explore the free daytime shows: Immerse yourself in the festival spirit with free performances on the main stage from 11:30 am to 3:00 pm daily.
  2. Embrace the evening scene: Halifax’s downtown offers a fun pre-show atmosphere. Be prepared for a two-hour show and bring comfortable clothing, as evenings near the waterfront can get chilly.
  3. Plan your transportation: The festival’s growing popularity necessitates alternative transportation methods. Halifax boasts a reliable bus service that reaches close to the festival site.
  4. Be open to new experiences. The festival is a perfect platform to discover new artists and sounds. Don’t be afraid to venture outside your musical comfort zone.
  5. Grab a festival guide: Pick up a printed guide or browse the website to navigate the extensive program featuring over 70 performances.

“Every year the lineup of TD Halifax Jazz Festival always looks and sounds different from its predecessor [and] we are thrilled that the 38th edition of the festival continues this trend, with music and ideas coming together from around the world,” says Jackson. “One constant year over year, however, is that this festival offers something for everyone, and I encourage you to take the time to discover something new, as you will not be disappointed.”

The 2024 Halifax Jazz Festival will take place July 9-14 at venues across the HRM. For tickets and information, visit

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