Hello and welcome to the web page for the 2013 Steel City Jazz Festival. My name is Chris Ferguson, I am the Co-Founder and Artistic Director of the festival, Co-Founder of the Hamilton Audio Visual Node art gallery and an avid jazz listener. I hope that you will return to this website regularly over the next year to find out how the festival is progressing and to see how you can get involved.
I hope that you will get involved because the willingness of others to have me involved is what has made Hamilton such an engaging, exciting place for me to have lived. When some friends of mine and I set out this past spring to open an art gallery we did so expecting that if we put out work we were proud of that the city would support us. We’re six months in now and still going strong, so without being overly optimistic or smug, I think we were right. Welcoming, inclusive and supportive communities abound in this city and are the reason I know this festival can be a success.
To be honest though, I can’t say with total certainty that this phenomenon is unique to Hamilton. In fact I’m sure it’s not; great communities exist everywhere. But I can’t help but feel there is something unique about Hamilton these days. There’s a saying going around, coined by (as far as I can tell) Dundas graphic designer Russell Gibbs, “You Can Do Anything In Hamilton”, and I think that about sums it up. Through some combination of circumstances and the hard work of a great many people across a variety of disciplines for many years, Hamilton is a place where you can do anything you’d like. I would like to put on a jazz festival, and I would like for you to help.
I have my own ideas of what this festival will look like (which you can read soon in another post), but I encourage you to think about how your Steel City Jazz Festival would be. There are a lot of deep roots in Hamilton, including a history with jazz music that I don’t yet know well, but which I hope to discover and include as the planning for this festival continues. The best jazz has never been made by individuals but by groups, so in that spirit please feel free to share any suggestions, ideas, stories and most of all music with us as we progress.
Thanks for reading,
Festival Artistic Director
The Bay Area Jazz Society is part of the city’s jazz history, and also the Hess Village Jazz Festival. The Steeltown Friends of Mohawk College has put on great jazz benefit concerts for the past (ten?) years. Lots of good stories lay buried in the minds of participants, to be sure.