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Festi Jazz International de Rimouski is a non-profit organization offering jazz lovers from the Bas-Saint-Laurent region, Quebec and the Maritimes quality jazz performances in an urban seaside setting. It holds the annual Festi Jazz festival and a winter event, among other activities. The organization works to develop the genre, enriching regional cultural life and leading new audiences to discover jazz.
Since 2011, Festi Jazz has served as a key springboard for Quebec’s rising generation of jazz musicians. In addition to being an important jazz promoter here in Quebec, the organization works tirelessly to make Quebec jazz known around the world. As a key promoter of jazz in eastern Quebec, Festi Jazz’s initiatives continue to spur synergy in the region, promote jazz and cultivate new audiences.
Founded by a group of jazzophiles in 1986, the Festi Jazz International de Rimouski has welcomed three decades of jazz icons by the likes of Stéphane Grappelli, Wayne Shorter and Dizzy Gillespie, to name but a few. From its very start, the event has attracted an average 30,000 festival-goers every year to its beautiful seaside setting. Its idyllic backdrop and the proximity between the musicians and audiences have sealed this flagship event’s success in eastern Quebec.
Over the years, the festival has won many cultural and tourism awards, both regionally and nationally. Thanks to its early success, Festi Jazz has built an excellent reputation here and abroad, leading it to become the second largest jazz festival in the province. The cultural, municipal and tourism sectors were quick to support this most enjoyable event, and many music-loving volunteers help ensure the festival’s smooth functioning year after year. Several have joined the festivities for over 25 years now!
The organization’s activities have diversified over time, lending the festival new colours and giving it momentum to reach new heights. Strategic directions have focused on encouraging up-and-coming jazz musicians, spreading word about Quebec jazz, and forming or joining international associations. Our strong values of proximity, accessibility, quality, development and collaboration have led us to hold concerts in smaller, more intimate venues, re-centre the artistic direction on jazz and related genres, add a showcase of jazz professionals from abroad and accompany promising artists featured in talent showcases, such as Jazz à Vienne (France) and Jazz à Verviers (Belgium).
Our focus on the next generation has been a springboard for both Quebec jazz and Festi Jazz, bringing our organization unprecedented development and international exposure in recent years. Growing media coverage of Festi Jazz and its artists—including mentions in prestigious magazines such as Jazz Perspective (Japan) and Downbeat Magazine (United States)—are eloquent signs of the rising interest in jazz.
Festi Jazz’s many artistic, organizational and professional ventures have led its team to adopt a clear vision for the future, implemented across the seven focus areas of its 2016–2020 strategic plan. Throughout its journey, Festi Jazz can take pride in the considerable feat of having presented over 30 years of high-calibre jazz as a major music festival outside of large urban areas.