Rainbow Robert, managing director of the Vancouver jazz festival, steps down

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      The Coastal Jazz & Blues Society (CJBS) announced today (February 4) that Rainbow Robert, the managing director of Vancouver's annual jazz festival, has stepped down.

      In a February 4 release, CJBS executive director Nina Horvath said the society would miss Robert.

      “Rainbow will be deeply missed by staff and the jazz community," Horvath said, "and it is our goal to continue to uphold the standard of artistic excellence she has brought to the organization."

      No reason was given for the departure of the longtime employee. CJBS was founded as a charitable arts organization in 1985 and has produced the TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival since 1986.

      Robert held the jazz festival's managing-director position since 2018 but has worked for the fest since 1998, mainly in programming. 

      She replaced founding artistic director and fest cofounder Ken Pickering afte he retired in 2017. Pickering died in August 2018.

      CJBS had the following to say about Robert in the release: "Her keen ear and expansive vision has been instrumental in the growth, recognition, and success of the TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival across the country and around the globe.

      "Rainbow brought great passion and inspiration to her work and improved musical life in this city for both festivalgoers and artists," the release continued. "She forged new relationships by developing in-depth collaborations between local and international artists, and helped shine a light on the magnitude of musical talent in Vancouver."

      The nonprofit noted the Robert led its education and outreach activities, "including collaborative initiatives with the Berklee Institute of Jazz and Gender Justice and the International Institute for Critical Studies in Improvisation".

      Meanwhile, the CJBS said that it will be "engaging in a thoughtful, transparent, and equitable process to determine the future artistic leadership of the organization".

      The society also reminded Vancouverites that the 35th annual jazz fest is still scheduled to take place this year, from June 24 to July 3, and that it will be preceded by this month's IronFest 2 (February 18 to 20).