Vancouver Wine & Jazz Festival—A History of Success
The First Annual Vancouver Wine & Jazz Festival took place September 26-27, 1998 in downtown Vancouver. After nearly a year of planning, the Festival premiered to huge weekend crowds. By all measures, the Festival was an enormous success. The 1998 Festival was held on the site of the former Lucky Lager Brewery in downtown Vancouver. International jazz star and vocalist Dianne Schuur entertained a huge Saturday night crowd. 21 wineries, 6 restaurants and 40 fine artists participated.
Each year more than 200 people volunteer to support the Festival. Media estimates that 8-10,000 people attend the annual festival. Visitors from 25 states, Europe, China, Japan and Canada have attended, and more than 150,000 people have attended since its inception.
Every year the Festival features visual artists, hundreds of wines, local restaurants and numerous commercial exhibitors. In 20+ years, the Festival has presented such internationally acclaimed jazz artists including: Al Jarreau, Allen Toussaint, Arturo Sandoval, Bela Fleck, BeauSoleil, Bill Frisell, Billy Childs, Blind Boys of Alabama, Blood, Sweat & Tears, Bo Diddley, Booker T. Jones, Bobby Shew, Brubeck Brothers Quartet, Chick Corea, Chuck Mangione, Claudia Villela Coco Montoya, David Sanborn, Diane Schuur, Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Don McLean, Dr. John, Eddie Palmieri, Ed Shaughnessy, Ernie Watts, Family Stone, Four Freshmen, Grace Kelly, James Cotton, Jane Monheit, Jean-Luc Ponty, Joey DeFrancesco, John Hammond, John Mayall, John Pizzarelli, Johnny A, Jose Feliciano, Judy Collins, Kenny Loggins, Lavay Smith, Lee Ritenour, Los Lobos, Manhattan Transfer, Marcia Ball, Mavis Staples, Melissa Manchester, Nicholas Payton, Pacific Mambo Orchestra, Poncho Sanchez, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Ramsey Lewis, Regina Carter, Rita Coolidge, Ronnie Baker Brooks, Russell Malone, Ruthie Foster, Sara Gazarek, Shemekia Copeland, Spanish Harlem Orchestra, Spyro Gyra, Stanley Clarke, Stanley Jordan, Take 6, The Gospel Hummingbirds, The Louis Armstrong Society Jazz Band, The 5th Dimension, The Rippingtons, The Savoy-Doucet Cajun Band, The Temptations, The Yellowjackets, Toshiko Akiyoshi, WAR and others; as well as more than 100 local and regional jazz bands. The Festival is a program of Bravo! Concerts Northwest, a 501(c)3 nonprofit arts organization.
What is the Vancouver Wine & Jazz Festival?
Awarded “Outstanding Tourism Event” by Clark County, the Festival is the #1 Cultural Tourism event in Southwest WA and is “…the largest jazz festival of its kind in the Northwest…” (ABC TV KATU 2 Portland, OR). Since 1998 visitors from 25 states, Canada, China, Europe, and Japan have attended the Festival.
A management team of 20 is led by Artistic Director Michael Kissinger and Festival Director Maria Manzo. More than 200 community volunteers assist each year with the production of the Festival.
Michael Kissinger, Founder & Artistic Director
Maria Manzo, Festival Director
Festival Management Team
Christopher Alexander, Director of Festival Security
Charles Alfieri, Festival Layout
Mark Babilon, Director of Operations & Special Projects
Brandon Black, Assistant Director of Operations
Donna Hicks-Farnsworth, Assistant Artist & Exhibitor Manager
Marissa Badgley, Hospitality Manager
Mary Braut, VIP Sponsor Manager
Davor Braut, I.T. Director / Assistant Stage Manager
Nancy Bowen-Hicks, Artist & Exhibitor Manager
Anna Collins, Front Gate Manager
Frank Escudero, Chicago Office Liaison / Assistant to the Festival Director
Chef Gordon Graham, VIP Catering Manager
Tim Hagan, Bravo! Concerts Northwest Board Advisor
Sylvia Howes, Business Manager
David Kirchner, Stage Manager
Heidi Kohn, Assistant Stage Manager
Mary Peters, Volunteer Manager
Diane Sotski, Bravo! Concerts Northwest Promotion Manager
Sylvia Manzo, Bravo! Concerts Northwest Promotion Manager (Emeritus)
Dan Meyer, Director of Operations (Emeritus)
What is the Purpose of the Festival?
ARTS: To be a major festival of the musical, visual, performing, enological arts.
ARTS: To entertain, enrich, and educate audiences.
ARTS: To promote the programs of Bravo! Concerts Northwest.
ECONOMIC: To attract thousands of tourists to Southwest Washington.
ECONOMIC: To provide value to Festival Sponsors.
EDUCATION: To provide music education opportunities for students.
COMMUNITY: To build community and civic pride.