A successful event equals stage lineup plus audience experience: tips from MIJF 2017

PhotoSparks is a weekly feature from YourStory, with photographs that celebrate the spirit of creativity and innovation. In this pictorial essay, we showcase some of the creative highlights from the annual Montreal International Jazz Festival in Canada (see also my earlier photo essays on the 2015 and 2016 editions of MIJF).

In the earlier 140 posts, we brought you a wide range of creative photographs from an art fair, world music festival, painting fair, telecom expo, art museum, mobile showcase, math museum, social hackathon, bookstore, co-working space, sensorium, international design week, flower show, outdoor ads, startup roadshow, computer museum, startup T-shirts, business cards, art therapy, startup festival, Diwali rangoli, Vesak, jazz festival, modern art gallery, ecopreneurs, painter-poets, health activists, eNGOs and digital innovators.



My summer travels this year took me again to Canada for the annual Montreal International Jazz Festival (MIJF), now in its 38th edition. The festival also coincided with the celebrations of Montréal’s 375th Anniversary and 150 years of the formation of Canada.

From June 28 to July 8, the Festival drew a ‘sea of people’ from dozens of countries around the world, with over a hundred artistes featured across two dozen venues. Sponsors this year included TD Bank Group, Rio Tinto, Bell Canada and others. Many of the stage events were free, with separate ticketed programming at indoor venues.

Some of the highlights this year included the legendary blues guitarist Buddy Guy (who walked off-stage during one song and played among the audience), the sitar-lounge fusion pieces by Thievery Corporation, jazz-theatre set design by Shobaleader One, space headgear by Afrotronix, vocalist Jasmine Colette who played bass and percussion at the same time, and night-time sets with DJs accompanied by live percussion or saxophone (eg. Speakeasy Electro Swing).

The Urban Science Brass Band delighted festival goers by playing among the audience rather than on stage, and Pierre Kwenders featured two artists working on paintings during the music performance. The Montreal Street Dancers were there as well, with ‘Roya the Destroya’ wowing the crowd – though she is one-legged, she danced with crutches.

MIJF is one of the largest and longest-running jazz festivals in the world, but competing events are ramping up as well. Festival design is not just about the music lineup and sound systems, but also the overall audience experience. This includes branding, merchandising, immersive entertainment, street performers, art work, and even cartoons.

As this photo essay shows, the audience themselves contribute to the overall festive experience with their own creativity, ranging from T-shirts to amateur performances. So next time you attend or organise an event, ask yourself what unique experiences you had – or what experiences you can co-create!

Got a creative photograph to share? Email us at [email protected]!

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