416 Toronto Creative Improvisers Festival

Unfortunate bad news for Wednesday. Mia Zabelka has had to cancel. She has had a catastrophe for the festival she puts on. A storm ripped the roof off of the open-air stage her festival uses, and she is scurrying to get it repaired in time. She cancelled and has rescheduled. Mia will perform on February 18, 2017, in a “sponsored by 416 Toronto Creative Improvisers Festival” event at the Tranzac. EAO and Nidus will both play extended sets on Wednesday.


The plans are all in place for 2016. The festival will happen November 2 to 5, 2016. All performances start at 10 pm, onstage in the Southern Cross Room at The Tranzac Club, 292 Brunswick Avenue. Check out the schedule and performers, all posted here. See you at the festival!

The 416 Toronto Creative Improvisers Festival is a yearly showcase for the vibrant Toronto improvised music scene.  The 416 area code’s finest improvising musicians, and sometimes visitors from farther afield, play in a wide variety of styles in 3 or 4 sets over each of the festival’s 4 nights.  Their improvisations take the form of completely free-form spontaneous compositions, created entirely “in the moment, at the moment of performance, by the performers”.  At other times, a drawing, graphic, object, original musical chart or just the audience ‘vibe’, are used to inspire the music.

The 416 is a celebration of music-making on a tightrope.

Samples from the 2012 Festival on Soundcloud.

 Preview of the 2014 Festival on Soundcloud.

I wake this morning my chakras all aligned, and grateful to have experienced last night at 416. Eagerly anticipating tonight and the two orchestras which will no doubt take me again to a higher level of soul existence. If you have not ever experienced 416 you may wish to head on down to the Tranzac tonight for 10. Come be awemazed.”

—  416 Festival participant