Living in Waterloo Ontario: Uptown Waterloo Jazz Fest

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Living in Waterloo Ontario: Uptown Waterloo Jazz Fest


The Uptown Waterloo Jazz Festival kicks off this weekend, featuring something for everyone who is living in Waterloo Ontario. From local to international talent, and a variety of styles from traditional Jazz to Smooth Jazz, the 22nd Annual Sunlife Financial Uptown Waterloo Jazz Festival brings this exciting music genre to those living in Waterloo Ontario for free.

The three day festival which happens this weekend in Uptown Waterloo, features three exciting and very different headlining acts. Most people living in Waterloo Ontario attend the festival every year. Not sure if you want to head uptown to hear these acts? We’ve provided samples of their music in this post.

The Marcus Roberts Trio:

The Marcus Roberts Trio, featuring jazz pianist Marcus Roberts from Jacksonville, Florida

Blind since age 5, Marcus Roberts of Jacksonville Florida is an accomplished jazz pianist whose work has been profiled on 60 minutes. The London Jazz News has this to say about Roberts: “Pianist Roberts is a force of nature with his ebullient touch, and his mastery of so many idioms throughout the decades of jazz piano. ” 

The Marcus Roberts Trio will be performing at the Jazz Fest on Saturday at 7:30. To listen to a sample of The Marcus Roberts Trio, click the link below:

Marcus Roberts Trio : What Is This Thing Called Love

Ivana Santilli:

Headliner Ivana Santilly performs Saturday night in Waterloo

R&B Singer and Juno Winner Ivana Santilly takes the stage Friday night at the Uptown Waterloo Jazz Fest.

The Juno award winning Ivana Santilli brings her high energy vocals and musicality to Waterloo as a headliner at the Jazz Fest. Toronto born and raised, this R&B singer and multi-instrumentalist (including the trumpet) makes for a great show. Santilli will be playing at the Uptown Waterloo Jazz Festival on Friday at 9 pm. To hear a clip of Santilli palying live, click the link below.

Ivana Santilli: Live from The Orbit Room 

 PresHall Brass:

PResHall Brass brings New Orleans style Jazz to Uptown Waterloo this weekend.


New Orleans Brass Band PresHall Brass serves up traditional New Orleans Jazz straight from the French Quarter. Their uniquely New Orleans style of  traditional Jazz brass tunes will have you and the proverbial saints marching in. A sample of the band playing live is below:

PresHall Brass

Three days of Music

Other performers over the weekend include the perennial favorite Dee Dee and the Dirty Martinis, eccodek, Beverly Taft, Eliana Cuevas and Alexander Brown.

Family Fun at the Festival

Not to worry, parents: festival planners have made sure to have plenty for your kids to do at the festival. An instrument ‘petting zoo’ allows the kids to explore many traditional jazz instruments. A jazz bucket drum clinic is also planned in the kids’ tent.

If your child plays an instrument and wants to learn about playing jazz, a youth clinic is being offered that will teach them the jazz basics before giving them a chance to actually perform at the festival. This program is by application only. To apply, visit the festival’s website at

To accommodate the audiences that this lineup is expected to draw, Waterloo is providing expanded free parking uptown, plus satellite locations at the Jazz Room at the Huether Hotel and at Waterloo Public Square. A map of the festival is available for download at the festival’s website.

The Sunlife Financial Uptown Waterloo Jazz Festival is a staple of Waterloo’s lifestyle, bringing young and old together in Uptown Waterloo every summer for three days of world class jazz. To learn more about our lifestyle in Waterloo, follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

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