A festival powered by dedicated volunteers.
Ask anyone who’s been involved with the SaskTel Saskatchewan Jazz Festival over the years what makes it tick and they’ll immediately say, volunteers. It’s true every year a small army of enthusiastic people marches into the venues to get the job done. Every year more than 400 dedicated people take care of everything from bar tending and flipping burgers to transportation and artist hospitality. Meet Della Beal, Jeff Gould, and Kathryn Ellis. Three longtime and integral volunteers that allow the artists and audience to never miss a beat!
Della Beal has been one of those friendly faces for more than 25 years. “It’s something I look forward to every year,” says the volunteer coordinator. “I joke that I’m going to my non-paying job now. My kids know where I’ll be during festival time.” The 10-day festival is long work and hard hours but there are some benefits. Volunteers get a chance to give back to the community, and a chance to see the shows for free.
Beal says it’s nice to see the musicians perform but it’s the people that keep her coming back year after year. “The Jazz Festival attracts people from all over the world. “ She explains, “You meet so many interesting people and it keeps you young and motivated!”
Jeff Gould heads up transportation at the festival. His job is to make sure the artists get to the shows on time and never miss a flight. “It’s craziness but its fun. We have eight to 12 vehicles running for a full 12 days,” says Gould. “Quite often the first glimpses of our city they see from the windows of our shuttle.” He tells us what the jazz festival means to our city.
For 30 years Kathryn Ellis has been dedicated to making sure the SaskTel Saskatchewan Jazz Festival runs smoothly. In fact, she will be awarded the 2016 Jim Hill Festival Builder Award for her years of dedication to the event. In her interview, she says the festival gives back to the community in more ways than one.