From the festival to all volunteers

Here’s a letter from John Cvetan, Volunteer Coordinator, to all of the festival’s volunteers:

To all our wonderful Volunteers,

To the many wonderful people, young and old, from many professional and cultural backgrounds giving up their time for 10 days to volunteer at the Jazz Festival, I say thank you. I say thank you to everyone who has made this festival what it is today. Every volunteer’s actions no matter how small or large is key to our success.

It will be sad not seeing familiar faces around the park this year due to COVID-19, but we can share a special “once in a 100 years” moment together with “Tenacity”, our virtual music festival for 2020, starting June 19th.

I want to reassure everyone that your positions will wait for you next year. So practice driving around town, looking at all the different hotels, pouring beers to your family (or yourself), move random heavy objects back and forth and then, back again, practice your sales techniques, use your phones and scan another friend’s phone, build stages for the local kids on the street and then show them how to properly put away an extension cord, perfect your bbq techniques, and finally stack and unstack chairs (even move them around to different parts of your home). All this and more will wait for you in 2021!

Be strong, stay safe and be positive! We will be together again.

Warmest regards,

  Ottawa Jazz Festival
602-294 Albert Street, Ottawa, Ontario, K1P 6E6

We will miss him too!

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2020 Ottawa Jazz Festival will be a bit different this year

Hi everyone!

After announcing that the festival was cancelled this year, because of COVID19, I was happy to see that there will still be 10 evenings of concerts, streamed on the festival’s web site

This way, as stage crew, we can just sit back and enjoy, where ever we are, and we don’t have to do all that work setting up and tearing down.

Of course, it is sad, as normally at this time we would be working in the park, setting up the tent over the stage and building other infrastructure. Next year!

Meanwhile, I hope you are all staying healthy and physically distancing so that we can have a full festival next year!

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Cancelled due to COVID19

Today, the 2020 Ottawa Jazz Festival was officially cancelled because of restrictions related to COVID19 and the appropriate restrictions on public events and gatherings.

Stay tuned for more information from the festival on their plans for later in the year, if that is possible.

Hope to see you all in the park in 2021!

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Hi everyone

I know these are strange times for everyone. I hope you are all adjusting to the new size of personal space (2 metres) and whatever other realities this is bringing into your life.

The family has decided to postpone the celebration of Henry Jaques’ life. A new date will be announced once the situation makes it safe for us to gather together.

In the meantime, we are still collecting stories and photos of Henry to share when that time comes. Send them to the email for this web site, please.

Thanks and stay safe, everyone!

social distancing party invitation


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Henry was a busy person!

While we all knew that Henry was a very generous person and volunteered in so many ways, this tribute from CHEO’s CEO just adds to the list of where he made a difference:

Henry and CHEO Tweet

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Celebrating Henry’s life

Hi everyone

Here is the information about the celebration of Henry’s life in April 2020:

I’ve offered the family our help so if we can do something, we will be in touch with those who would be willing.

Update February 2, 2020

We are collecting images and stories for the event. Please send them to us here:

ojfstage @ (no spaces)

If you are coming to the event and would like to tell a story, also let us know so we can figure out how much time/how many stories and let the family know.

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Memories of Henry Jaques

Lifetime gold passes

These are comments and memories of our dear friend and colleague, Henry Jaques, shared by stage volunteers:

I am so very sorry to hear this news. I only volunteered at the festival for two summers, but Henry made a big impact with his professionalism, patience, and understated humour. My condolences to his family and all of those he leaves behind.  ND

My condolences to the family and friends of Henry. I know him as a festival volunteer and grew to realize that the festival owes a great deal of it’s success to his dedication and mentoring.  ES

I’m remembering working together with the stage crew last summer and feeling very impressed how a team of mostly elder men, some new to the scene, could work together so well and leave their egos at the door!

For me Henry set that tone and I was immediately impressed not just by his mechanical abilities to figure out how to put the giant meccano set together, but his gentle humility.

I look forward to joining you all this year and to continue his and all of our legacies by building the Jazz Fest set for our music community.  NH

I met Henry last year and remarked on how integral he was to setting up the stage and grounds. He was gracious with newbies like me, sharing info and experience easily. Now it’s up to us to continue with the Jazz Fest, remembering Henry, his commitment to the festival, and his attention to detail. Sincere condolences to Henry’s family, friends and associates. AR

My condolences. He ran a tight fair ship and was caring and patient.  PZ

Very sad to hear. Henry was always one of my favourite people to work with, a huge loss for the festival as others have already attested to. Please express my condolences to his family and friends outside of the festival. CJ

I am sitting here in shock and sadness.

I met Henry at the OIJF in 1993 and then in 1994 I became a Main Stage Crew member so I have known him for many years.
His good, diligent and hard work was an inspiration to me. I was always impressed at his problem-solving and managerial skills. He was congenial, approachable, encouraging and in good humour. I admired and respected how he, along with Riek, Andrew and you, trained the crew members and kept them informed. This resulted in a lasting camaraderie and friendship amongst the crew and repeat volunteers. It was always a pleasure to work with Henry. His experience and dedication as a Stage Crew Coordinator and Past President of the OJF have had a huge and positive impact on the crew and the OJF as a whole. He will be so missed and I cannot imagine an OJF without him.

My thoughts and prayers go out to Margaret and family. CM

What a shock this was. ML

I am very sorry to hear about Henry. Please extend my condolences to his family. May he Rest In Peace. SB

I can’t actually put words on my paper without it being soaked in tears. LB

I truly enjoyed working with Henry mostly on site setup for the festival. He took a keen interest in the tasks that needed to be accomplished in a day and that they were done safely and correctly. He was also interested at a personal level in his crew and finding out where they were from, their education, their work, their travels and what they did for fun. Henry’s persona radiated calm and support. I will miss him.  DT

OH NO. The worst news possible – my heart goes out to Henry’s family and all who knew him. He was an amazing, dedicated man and the Ottawa Jazz Festival will be the poorer for his loss.

Henry was the person who first got me into the festival – and for all that he had so many major responsibilities, he was always ready to help the newest volunteer, sharing his knowledge and experience and making each one feel like an invaluable member of the team.

I will miss him – it felt like he was an old friend from the moment I met him. The Festival will never be quite the same, although his legacy is written all over it.

Enjoy the music up there, Henry.

With much love and admiration, GW

I’m so very sad to hear of Henry’s passing. He was such a sweet and kind man and will be deeply missed. My thoughts and condolences to his dear family and friends.   JMK

My sincerest condolences to Madame Margaret. SH


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Sad News


It is with deep regret that we must announce that our very dear friend and stage crew leader Henry Jaques passed away suddenly January 20, 2020.

Henry was part of the very foundation of the Ottawa Jazz Festival dedicating thousands of hours over the last 30+ years; planning the festival, scheduling our volunteers, building stages, working with artists and volunteers, making sure the shows happened. He also served on the board of directors, including as Festival president and advised the staff on many areas of the operations. There was never a project that couldn’t be investigated, thought through and solved – many shows only happened because of his dedication to get the job done.

We offer our very sincerest condolences to his wife Margaret, his children, grandchildren and so many friends and family he leaves behind.  As plans are made, we will follow up with further details of the arrangements.

If you have stories you would like to share with Henry’s family, you can send them here and we will collate them:

ojfstage @

(take out the spaces).

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Thank you!!!

Today is International Volunteer Day and a great day to remember the fun we had this summer. The stage team is a fairly large part of the overall festival volunteer team but none of us could do this without each other. Lets celebrate our successes and look forward to 2020–the festival’s 40th anniversary and our return to our beloved Confederation Park!

2019 jazz volunteers

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Well, that’s a wrap

The jazz festival is over for another year. The main stage cover is down and packed, along with all the rest of the stage supplies and tools.

The volunteer thank you party was a lot of fun. There are some photos of that on the pictures page, as well as photos of the tent cover take down.

Speaking of pictures, if anyone took any and would like to share them, please send us the link and we will happily post that.

Thanks to all of your for all your work and time being part of the team this year! John put together some of the stats and they really are amazing!

Fifty five volunteers worked 470 shifts for a total of 2480 hours. That works out to an average of 45 hours for each volunteer over three and a half weeks–truly amazing!

Hope you had fun and we look forward to seeing you all next year! If you have any suggestions for future improvements, please let John know.

Have a great summer!

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