- Miguel Ramírez, director of the festival, acknowledges that “it has been our most ambitious year, but also the most difficult because of the Covid”
- “We have managed to stage 58 programmed concerts, without cancellations, although we had to alter some venues”
The Festival Internacional Canarias Jazz & Más will celebrate its 31st edition from 1 to 24 July 2022, an announcement made public following the close of its 30th anniversary, which featured 58 concerts with the participation of 33 musical ensembles. “It has been our most ambitious year, both for artistic programming as well as the number of suitable venues in which to stage the performances, a total of 22, many of them new”, said Miguel Ramírez, director of the festival. “But also the most difficult, inasmuch as it coincided with a rise in Covid cases, which in turn changed the alert levels and subsequent health protocols at the venues and open-air concerts”.
Nevertheless, Ramírez assures “that all the battles & tensions we had to endure dissipated at each concert with the encounter between the musicians & audience. The gestures of affection & gratitude in general we had received every day recharged our energy to carry on with determination”. The director of the festival and of ‘Colorado Producciones’ also wished to express “special thanks & appreciation to our team” and to each & every one of the many entities “that have worked hard to make this edition so special & unforgettable”. This has been an edition “of the highest level, which we intend to maintain and, if possible, improve. A challenge that we have overcome due to the love & passion we feel for music”.
A year featuring performances on the islands by artists such as Wynton Marsalis with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra; Snarky Puppy staging their only three concerts in Europe; Avishai Cohen premiering his disc Two Roses with the Tenerife Symphony Orchestra; Benavent, Di Giraldo, Pardo with their Flamenco Leaks; Julian Lage presenting his new album, Squint; and re-appearances by Cyrille Aimée, José James, Fred Hersch, Maria Joao & Patax; discovering new talent like Ozma, Cimafunk, Jean-Paul Estiévenart, Liv Warfield, Chico Pinheiro, Óscar Peñas, The Black Barbies & The Buttshakers; and one in which we savoured once again local talent with fourteen Canarian ensembles. “A programme of considerable standard which compels us to keep improving”.
This 30th anniversary has been “a challenge for the organisation because of the Covid, but we were able to save the festival, we staged all the concerts programmed despite the changes in protocols that were made almost every week”. Ramírez admits that “we had the sword of Damocles over our head, we had to alter some of the venues for this reason, but the important thing is that the festival took place and the audience were able to enjoy it from beginning to end”.
In spite of the predictions a month before it was due to be held “which led us to think that we would be faced with a scenario much closer to normality, the fact is that the changes in the alert level in nearly all the islands caused us much tension” which affected the island of Tenerife most of all, “we were forced to look for alternative venues for the open-air concerts, both in Adeje as well as in Santa Cruz de Tenerife & Puerto de la Cruz”. Those in Adeje were transferred to the public square ‘Plaza de España’ the Auditorium to ‘EMMA’; in the island’s capital city, at first it was going to be held in the square ‘Plaza de la Candelaria’, but finally moved to closed venues, ‘La Granja’ & the Auditorium; and in Puerto de la Cruz, although publicised at ‘El Penitente’, like a year ago, was moved to the leisure space ‘Lago Martiánez’ a secure venue. La Palma also had changes to the venue, which was moved from the public square ‘Plaza España’ to the marquee ‘Juan Pablo II’.
In this section, Miguel Ramírez wished to convey his gratitude for “the willingness & goodwill of all the venues concerned not to cancel any concert”, as well as the action taken for those responsible at the Town Halls affected by these changes, “their support for culture & for the festival has been essential, because in cases like these it would have been far easier to suspend the concerts, but they decided to go ahead and find alternatives, something I greatly appreciate”, he declared.
In many instances, these changes brought about “a reduction in audience capacity which left many spectators outside, also alterations in the protocols that affected both the audience as well as the musical ensembles” and obviously “the organisation of the festival and the actual venues, which we have had to keep adapting each week to the changes caused by the effect of Covid”. To sum up, “the only problems we had to face in this 30th edition had been associated with the Covid virus, as the others of a logistic nature, like domestic transport, in which we detected many shortcomings, were also due to the effects of the pandemic”.
In a positive outcome, in addition to the programming and audience response, “that filled over 90% of the capacity limits”, it is also noteworthy the incorporation of new venues, like for example “the Faro (Lighthouse) of Maspalomas Esplanade & the ‘ExpoMeloneras’ Auditorium, returning to the municipality of San Bartolomé de Tirajana is very important for us and having done so at these two venues has been a dream come true”, acknowledged Miguel Ramírez, who also favourably regarded the staging of concerts in museums such as ‘MUNA’ in Santa Cruz de Tenerife and ‘Elder’ in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, as well as the José Antonio Ramos Auditorium, situated in Doramas Park in the Gran Canarian capital, “these are venues that have come to stay”.
The director of Canarias Jazz & Más also highly regarded the consolidation of the ‘El Salinero’ theatre in Arrecife, to hold “a top-level concert such as that of Snarky Puppy” and the staging of concerts on Sundays at 15:00 hours at The Paper Club, “has gone very well and we hope to repeat the formula and even hold them at venues on other islands”.
An edition, the 30th, which managed to go to all eight islands for the first time in the same edition largely due to the sponsors, especially “the Canary Islands Government, which has made an enormous effort incrementing its sponsorship considerably”, but also to ‘Canaluz’, a company “that has just arrived and has believed in & supported music & culture”. On the matter of thanks & appreciation, Ramírez included the Cabildos (Island Councils) of Fuerteventura, Lanzarote, La Palma, El Hierro, La Gomera, Tenerife & Gran Canaria (through the Tourist Board); the City/Town Halls of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Santa Brígida, Teguise, San Bartolomé de Tirajana, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, La Laguna, Puerto de la Cruz, Adeje, Los Llanos de Aridane, San Sebastián de La Gomera; and the venues Tenerife Auditorium, Auditorium-Theatre Foundation, Guiniguada Theatre, place of interest ‘La Granja’; the Elder Museum of Science & Technology, the Convent of Santo Domingo in La Laguna, the Convention Centre of ‘ExpoMeloneras’ and the Tenerife Nature & Archeology Museum (MUNA).
Miguel Rámirez gave advanced news that “we are already working on what will be the next edition of the festival, moreover so that there will be novelties in our programming. For some years now we have had in mind to organise a weekend featuring artists of a fresh & current style, that will strengthen the offer ‘& Más Músicas Creativas’, (& More Creative Music) where groups can take part which will attract a younger audience, but which maintains a high level of music with live performances of a stature which has always been the mark of our festival”.