A performance at the 2005 Beaches International Jazz Festival
The Beaches International Jazz Festival is a 10-day music festival held each year in the lakeside Beaches community of Toronto in the month of July. Originally started in 1988, it is now one of Canada's largest free jazz festivals with nearly 800,000 attendees, throughout its 10-day span. The Festival takes place across a number of venues; stage concerts are held in several different parks within the area and also along a two kilometre stretch of the Beach mainstreet - Queen Street East. Every year, the Festival brings in internationally acclaimed jazz performers while also showcasing local talent, including “new generation” jazz musicians. The Festival now hires around 1000 artists per annum, including 50 bands for its “StreetFest” event along Queen Street East. The Festival offers concerts at six stage locations: Kew Gardens Main Stage; the Latin Square and Big Band Stages (also located in Kew Gardens park); the Woodbine Park Main Stage and the New Generation and Youth stages also at Woodbine Park. The Festival holds a Workshop and Lecture Series which varies each year and is programmed to appeal to both professional musicians and to the general jazz loving public. The Festival also sponsors a "Jazz in Motion" Juried Photography Exhibition.
BIJF garners a lot of community support because of the community events that it supports. These include: a "Jazz-Up Your Windows" Beach BIA - BIJF jointly sponsored contest for local retailers; and multiple fundraising opportunities for local charities such as the "Beaches Jazz Tune-Up Run" on behalf of the Beach Rotary Club. The Festival attracts around one million attendees per Festival season. The BIJF benefits the local economy, injecting over $30 million into the GTA.