The Halifax Jazz Festival (July 8 to 12) is a summer staple, exposing audiences to music, culture, and artists they would otherwise have to travel or surf the web to discover.

Two of the buzzing bands set to bring the bebop ’n boogie are The Budos Band and Mdou Moctar. Hailing from Staten Island, N.Y., and fresh of their latest release Burnt Offering, The Budos Band bring their psychedelic swagger to the main stage Saturday, July 11.

Mdou Moctar is “a rising star Tuareg songwriter from Niger [who was] just on CBC’s Q talking about the film he stars in, Akounak Teggdalit Taha Tazoughai, which is an homage to Prince’s ‘Purple Rain,’” explains the festival’s artistic director and producer, Laura Healy. “We’ll be screening the film at the festival.” See him live Thursday, July 9, at the Bus Stop Theatre.

“[Jazz Fest is a] unique and culturally rich experience,” says Healy. “World-class music and top notch production quality, and a boost to the local economy with an economic impact that exceeds $6 million annually. There are a lot of musicians who won’t be familiar to people but they are all so worth checking out. I can promise that people will hear something new that they love if they take a chance on the unknown.”

This year’s event will run for five days instead of the usual nine, but boasts more indoor stages and two free outdoor daytime stages at Hydrostone Park and the Public Gardens. The main stage on the waterfront will be bigger and tentless, so shine up those dancin’ shoes and practice your jazz hands, there’s going to be plenty of room to shake a leg.

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