Jazz Festival: Brantford vs Ottawa

It’s my first real weekend in Brantford, and I went looking for something to do. In Ottawa, I’d check the Ottawa Events website, of course, but I wasn’t sure where to find what’s going on in Brantford. I asked Google and it’s first response was this Brantford Calendar of Events apparently managed by the City of Brantford.

The reason I started Ottawa Events was because there were a number of competing organizations in Ottawa all of whom would promote their own events, and ignore the events sponsored by their competitors. I get the impression that Brantford doesn’t have that problem, because it seems like the Brantford events calendar is fairly complete.

Anyway, I stumbled across the Brantford International Jazz Festival and decided to check it out.

There’s a big difference between the Ottawa Jazz Festival and the Brantford Jazz Festival, and the comparison doesn’t go the way you’d expect.

If you’re looking to hear some particular big-name Jazz artist, you’re more likely to be happy with the Ottawa Jazz Festival. But if you just want to hear some good Jazz and have a good time, in my opinion anyway, the Brantford event wins.

For one thing, admission is free (except to the Holly Cole concert).

And the Brantford doesn’t go all strict on parking anywhere within a mile of the event, the way Ottawa does. I drove up and parked about a 2 minute walk from where the action was and walked over, no gate, no tickets, no cost.

I saw a couple of artists whose names I don’t remember but who were quite enjoyable, and Joey DeFrancesco who was incredible. Overall I had a better time there than I would have had in Ottawa, where the festival seems to be a victim of its own size and success.