Presenting: Lido Chilelli – Founder of the Toronto International Beaches Jazz Festival

Lido works with a staff of 12 employees and about 200 volunteers. The Beaches International Jazz Festival Society is a non-profit organization that gets its funding solely through corporate sponsorships. But Lido’s organizational and promotional talents are not limited to the Beaches Jazz Festival: for 2007 his event management company, Beach Towel Productions, will handle a whole series of other events:

– The 3rd Annual Barrie Waterfront Festival featuring buskers, music, street theatre, fireworks and other activities.
– The 3rd Annual Distillery Blues Festival, highlighting Rhythm & Blues at Toronto’s Distillery District
– The 5th Annual 95.3 New Country Canada Day Festival, including food, arts & crafts and free concerts at Sunnyside Beach. www.country953.com
– The 10th Annual Toronto Fiesta, with more than 50 bands performing on St. Clair Avenue West near Landsdowne.
Parti Gras! at the Distillery – Toronto’s very own “Mardi Gras” party, complete with live music, New Orleans style cuisine, street performers, artisans and a fashion show.
– The 19th Annual Beaches International Jazz Festival, featuring over 70 bands.
– The 2nd Annual Y108 Picnic in the Park where Y108 presents Canada’s premier up and coming bands at Gage Park in Brampton.
– The 2nd Annual Wasaga Beachfest, featuring Canadian performers, arts & crafts and a children’s play area in Wasaga Beach.
– The 16th Annual Beachfest – MIX 99.9 – showcasing top level Canadian bands, arts & crafts and a children’s play area at Sunnyside Park.

All the special events that Lido organizes take place in the busy summer months from May to September. He says you have to be really organized and work together with a good team of people to make it all happen. This year the Toronto International Beaches Jazz Festival will be held from July 20 to 29 and will be kicked off with Parti Gras! – a New Orleans style celebration in the Distillery District. The Ovation of Jazz will be held on July 25, 2007 at the Balmy Beach Club as the official launch of the Beaches International Jazz Festival. It is a tasteful event offering ample opportunity to rub elbows with the Who’s Who and Future Stars of the Jazz industry!


Beaches Jazz Festival 2006

The TD Canada Trust 2007 Jazz Workshop and Lecture series provides a number of workshops such as “Afro Cuban Rhumba”, “The Art of Jazz Singing”, jazz composition workshops and others more. Streetfest serves up a whole smorgasbord of live music, from the finest Big Band, Jazz, Rhythm & Blues and Soul in Canada to an international collection of Acid, Bebop, Columbian, Dixieland, Flamenco, Folk, Funk, Latin, Reggae and Samba performers. The biggest stars are featured on the Main Stage on the Saturday and Sunday of the event.

Queen Street has been hopping east of Woodbine, and every year the festival gets bigger. At the moment discussions are underway about expanding the programming to the area immediately west of Woodbine. The merchants in that area have indicated an interest in becoming part of the festival, and even last year there were a couple of bands playing there on the street in front of local businesses.


Some of Lido’s many awards

Lido Chilelli has become a fixture on Toronto’s entertainment scene, and for his work in the community Lido has won numerous awards from community organizations, the city and the province, including the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal. He was also honoured as the Lion’s Club’s ‘Lion of the Year’. He has been featured in a variety of national magazines and is a founding member of the Community Police Liaison Committee for the Beach.

One project that is dear to Lido’s heart is fundraising for the Toronto East General Hospital. The Beaches Jazz Festival raised $200,000 for the Hospital and built the brand-new maternity ward at Toronto East General. Lido and his organization work with the hospital on a regular basis.

His work day is packed, a standard work day goes at least from 9 am to 6 pm. Much of his job involves organizational duties in-house and meetings out of the office. The average work day has about one or two meetings, sometimes there are three or four. He says he has good staff members that he can rely on to help him get all these events off the ground.


From left to right: Rico Ferrara: Artistic and Stage Manager; Lido Chilelli; Diane Wilson: coop student from George Brown College, and Pat Carpignano: Operations Manager.

With almost 20 years of experience and diverse events throughout Toronto and Southern Ontario, Lido Chilelli is definitely the go-to man to bring together free music, special events and fun for the whole family.


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