The Montreal International Jazz Festival’s online edition was a smash success.
As a virtual replacement for this year’s real-life jazz festival — which was cancelled due to COVID-19 — Le jazz est dans l’air reeled in tens of thousands of viewers per day, from Saturday through Tuesday evening.
“Frankly, I was surprised, from the first night, by the number of people watching — and that number kept increasing,” said jazz fest VP of programming Laurent Saulnier. “People dug in, and they stuck around, whatever the style of music.”
Around 2,000 to 3,000 viewers tuned into the festival’s Facebook page at any given time over the course of the event, but many more viewed the performances after the fact.
That’s great news for the performers in the impressively diverse, all-Montreal lineup, many of whom gained legions of new fans.
As of late Tuesday afternoon, over 60,000 had watched Saturday’s opening program, featuring fiery sets from Guadeloupian-Québécoise singer-songwriter Malika Tirolien, Mali-born Djely Tapa and Cameroon-Quebec soul singer Clerel, capped by the screening of a 2004 concert by piano greats Oscar Peterson and Oliver Jones, taken from the jazz fest vaults.