Edmonton International Jazz Festival

A fresh face for a local favourite

Since 2005, the Edmonton Jazz Festival Society has been Edmonton’s foremost producer of jazz concerts and events, including the annual jazz festival—a tradition with roots that stretch back to 1980.

Giving an organization new life

The Edmonton Jazz Festival Society first connected with Kobot because they felt their website was outdated. They needed an online presence that not only functioned well during the Festival, but served as a tool to promote the organization’s events all year round, and for years to come. The Edmonton Jazz Festival Society was also grappling with a complex ticketing system necessitated by multiple venues with multiple ticket vendors, and were searching for a way to clarify the convoluted array of artists and venues.

  • The Challenge Making all the pieces work together. Putting on an event like the Edmonton International Jazz Festival—not to mention all the programming that goes on the rest of the year—means there are a lot of moving parts. And the website is no exception. Kobot needed to create a site that not only makes all those parts to work together, but that also looks cohesive.
  • The Solution Kobot worked through each challenge to find the best solution, both for the website and for the audiences. The third party ticketing systems direct people where they need to go to buy tickets, but it still lets audiences keep their place so they can keep exploring.
  • The Results The website keeps it light and bright, with a design that is flexible enough to integrate any different approaches to press photos from the many different artists. It not only functions exceedingly well, it also visually welcomes in users and makes them feel engaged and excited about getting involved with Jazz Fest.

A compelling visual identity

Kobot took the new branding for the festival, created by Curio Studio, and expanded that look and feel to inhabit the new website.

We used the design of the website as an opportunity to break down some of the barriers for those who may be intimidated by jazz. Extra clicks and overwhelming amounts of information were removed, and instead we highlight engaging tidbits of information which are accessed by intuitive design paths. We created a website that looks and feels “breezy,” and does away with the insular (and perhaps snobby) feeling that outsiders sometimes perceive as part of jazz.

A simple solution for a complicated challenge

One of the biggest challenges for this website was ticketing. Edmonton International Jazz Festival takes place across multiple separate venues in the city. While some of these venues work with the same ticketing venues (like Tix on the Square), other venues use a completely different vendor (like Ticketfly). Kobot needed to find a way to make sure that audiences could buy tickets from all of these vendors, but still make it easy for them to come back to the Jazz Fest site to keep looking at other shows.

There was no way to completely amend this complicated situation, but we knew we could simplify the process. Our solution ended up being placing calls to action to buy tickets on the individual performance pages that open the third party ticketing website in another browser tab. There was no way to avoid navigating the audience away from the Jazz Fest site altogether, so instead we made it beyond simple to go back to the Jazz Festival site and continue browsing.

A website that’s as smart as they come

A variety of visual elements from different sources went into creating the website, so we devised a dynamic design to suit them all. The Edmonton International Jazz Festival is quite large, with artists playing multiple different shows at different venues across different days. Kobot created a “smart” schedule page, that updates itself and looks different as the festival goes along. This vastly simplifies the audience’s process to find out what shows they might see. We then integrated flexible approaches to photography throughout the site, to highlight the individual artist or group’s press photos without disrupting the visual cohesion of the full website.

Our work with Edmonton International Jazz Festival proves our ability as creative problem solvers. Throughout the creation process for this website we were presented with challenges that seemed impossible to reconcile. From the convoluted ticketing dilemma to the packed schedule, we worked through each issue to ensure we found not only the best solution for the audience, but the simplest solution for the Jazz Society to run sustainably in the future.