July 11th 2009
The Festival International de Jazz de Montreal (FIJM) celebrated year 30. Thanks to its efficient publicity department you already know that. My personal “handler” on the international press desk was the multinational Carola Duran who instinctively knew how to calm our consternation when we asked for tickets to long sold-out indoor events.
Let’s begin with the spanking new physical plant. The new pressroom is in a Canadian government gifted building just off the Festival grounds (Place des Arts). It is spacious and welcoming with a bar serving beer, wine, water, both flat and gaseous, and a new pleasant wrinkle: an espresso machine for coffee, latte and cappuccino, all gratuit. One could spend most of one’s time hanging out speaking with fellow fourth estaters you haven’t seen in a year(s) or perhaps ever. I was there over our Independence Day weekend (July 2-6) –FIJM ran from June 30-July 12– when the rain came and went not daily, but hourly. No exaggeration that.