History & Vision


The Guelph Jazz Festival was founded in 1994 by Ajay Heble and a group of friends who shared a love of jazz and a commitment to Guelph. The Festival has consistently been praised by local, national, and international critics for its programming. The festival has commissioned several large-scale works including Passages, a multimedia opera by Jesse Stewart and based on poetry by Paul Haines; Québécité, with music by D.D. Jackson and libretto by George Elliott Clarke; and In Place of Wishes written by Robert Pennee with music by a quintet of improvisers.


  • Winner, Premier’s Award for Excellence in the Arts, 2010
  • Finalist, Premier’s Award for Excellence in the Arts, 2009
  • Nominee, Festival of the Year, National Jazz Awards, 2009
  • Finalist, Premier’s Award for Excellence in the Arts, 2008
  • Finalist, Events Producer of the Year, Jazz Journalists Association, 2008
  • Winner, Lieutenant Governor’s Award for the Arts, 2001, 2000, 1997


Guelph Jazz Festival presents music that invites listeners to experience the world anew.


Guelph Jazz Festival invites listeners to be inspired by and engaged with creative music. The Festival strives to present  music that reflects the world in which we live and to make it accessible to the broadest possible audience through concerts, educational initiatives, and free programs.


  • We actively cultivate a wide range of community partnerships
  • We encourage artistic collaboration, teamwork, and volunteerism
  • We provide access with affordable ticket prices and free events


  • We deliver educational programs for young people
  • We engage learners of all ages
  • We inspire lively discussion


  • We encourage bold artistic ventures
  • We commission new works


  • We consider creative music within a global context
  • We celebrate artistic variety and human diversity